Government announces enforcement action against online travel agents

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced action against a number of hotel booking sites that it believes “may be breaking consumer protection law”.

The CMA launched its ongoing investigation last October, focusing on areas raised by the Bed & Breaklfast association last July that include accommodation rankings, pressure selling, discount claims and hidden charges.

The CMA is today (28 June) demanding that sites think again about how they present information to their customers and to make sure they’re complying with the law. “Our next step is to take any necessary action – including through the courts if needed – to ensure people get a fair deal,” said chief executive Andrea Coscelli (pictured).

B&B Association chairman David Weston told Luxury Bed & Breakfast Magazine: “The Bed & Breakfast Association are absolutely delighted that the UK competition regulator, the CMA, has today announced “enforcement action” against Online Travel Agencies that it believes are breaking consumer protection law. The areas covered are those we raised in our five formal complaints to the CMA last July – ie false “discounts”, false availability claims and other “pressure selling” techniques, manipulated search rankings influenced by payments to the OTAs, and false “Best Price” guarantees. The CMA’s very welcome action will help move the balance of power a little from these global tech giants – who are after all only intermediaries – back towards the small businesses that actually own the accommodation booked, and provide the hospitality.”

Anyone wishing to provide further evidence on the issues being considered can do so at: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/online-hotel-booking

For the full story see the July issue of Luxury Bed & Breakfast magazine