The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) take action to end Hotel booking sites 'misleading' sales practises
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched enforcement action on six OTAs after it found that they had been undertaking misleading practices when selling hotel accommodation. The CMA began its investigation in June 2018 but did not name the comparison sites it was investigating. The action involves Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and Trivago and is aimed at resolving issues such as pressure selling, misleading discount claims, the effect that commission has on how hotels are ranked on sites and hidden charges. The sites will now have to disclose whether commissions they receive affect the search results and they have
agreed to be clearer with discount claims and hidden charges.
Each of the companies targeted has undertaken a formal agreement with the CMA to discontinue various practices which differ from company to company but are broadly similar. The main practices covered by the undertakings are:
- Disclosing the effect of Money Earned on Search Results
- Comparisons with prices in different circumstances
- Misleading Discounts and not displaying the Total Price
- Clarity with regard to statements about popularity and availability and price
Whilst this action was associated with accommodation booking sites, the CMA is requiring other online platforms selling different products to stop undertaking these practices as well, so this will also impact on car rental and other travel sites.