Hotel booking sites to make changes after CMA probe

5th March 2019 by admin

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Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and trivago have been the subject of CMA enforcement action due to serious concerns around issues like pressure selling, misleading discount claims, the effect that commission has on how hotels are ordered on sites, and hidden charges.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) took action last year because it was concerned that practices such as giving a false impression of a room’s popularity or not displaying the full cost of a room upfront could mislead people, stop them finding the best deal and potentially break consumer protection law.

All companies under investigation by the CMA have co-operated with its work and voluntarily agreed to the following:

Not all firms engaged in all of the practices cited above, but all have nonetheless agreed to abide by all the principles set out in the undertakings.

The CMA will monitor compliance with the commitments made by the booking sites. All changes must be made by 1 September at the very latest, though the sites have already started making improvements.

It will also write to other hotel booking sites including online travel agents, metasearch engines and hotel chains setting out clear expectations for how they should be complying with consumer protection law. The CMA also expects these sites to make necessary changes by 1 September. If it finds sufficient evidence that others could be breaking consumer protection law, it will consider taking further enforcement action.

[Source: CMA, 6 February 2019]

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