Hotel-Booking Sites Agree to Stop Misleading Sales Tactics After UK Investigation

02/06/19 03:51 AM EST

By Adam Clark

 

The U.K.'s competition watchdog said Wednesday that some of the world's largest online hotel-booking sites have agreed to stop using pressure-selling tactics and improve transparency.

Sites run by Expedia Group Inc. (EXPE), trivago N.V. (TRVG) and Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG) were among those under investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority for potentially misleading practices.

The CMA said all the sites under investigation have agreed not to use pressure-selling tactics such as giving a false impression of hotel availability or rushing customer decisions. The sites also agreed to improve transparency over search results, discount claims and hidden charges, 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," CMA Chairman Andrew Tyrie said.

"Six websites have already given firm undertakings not to engage in these practices. They are some of the largest hotel booking sites. The CMA will now do whatever it can to ensure that the rest of the sector meets the same standards," Mr. Tyrie said.

The CMA said all the changes must be made by Sept. 1 at the latest and it will monitor compliance. The regulator will also write to other hotel-booking sites, including online travel agents, metasearch engines and hotel chains, setting out expectations for how they should comply with consumer-protection law.

 

Write to Adam Clark at adam.clark@dowjones.com; @AdamDowJones

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 06, 2019 03:51 ET (08:51 GMT)

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