Hotel booking sites agree to end ‘misleading’ sales tactics

Expedia and trivago are among six online hotel booking sites that have agreed to a raft of changes to end misleading sales tactics and hidden charges after a probe by the competition watchdog.

Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com and ebookers were also investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after it raised “serious concerns” over tactics used in the sector.

The CMA said the sites have voluntarily committed to the measures, including changes to make search results clearer, to end pressure selling, make discount claims more transparent and display all compulsory charges.

The CMA has taken enforcement action to bring to an end misleading sales tactics, hidden charges and other practices in the online hotel booking market. These have been wholly unacceptable

The CMA said it will “do whatever it can” to bring the rest of the online hotel booking sector up to the same standard.

Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the CMA, said: “The CMA has taken enforcement action to bring to an end misleading sales tactics, hidden charges and other practices in the online hotel booking market. These have been wholly unacceptable.”

The CMA stressed that not all of the six sites were guilty of using the tactics, but have still committed to the changes.

They must make the changes by September 1 and the CMA will monitor their compliance.

The watchdog will write to hotel booking sites across the sector – including travel agents, metasearch engines and hotel chains – to explain how they must comply with consumer protection law.

They must also make changes by September 1 and the CMA warned it will take further enforcement action if it finds evidence of others breaking the law.

- Press Association

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