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Hotel booking sites might be lying to you  

Nic McBride

Nic McBride
Oct 27, 2017


Hotel booking websites will be investigated for misleading people and pressuring them into making purchases.

Websites, including Trivago, booking.com, Expedia and Late Rooms, will be investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority for dodgy practices such as hidden charges, and making false claims about discounts.

They will also be investigated to see if sites are misleading customers about how many rooms are available in a hotel and how long prices are available.

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CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said the websites needed to give customers information that was clear and presented in a way that allowed people to choose the best deal for them.

“We are concerned that this is not happening and that the information on sites may in fact be making it difficult for people to make the right choice.”

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Not getting the best deal

The investigation was prompted by concerns that information on sites could stop people finding the best deal.

Mr Coscelli said people should be confident they had chosen the best accommodation for their needs and were getting a good deal.

“In today’s increasingly busy world, sites like this offer real potential to help holiday-makers save time and money searching for their ideal get-away.”

About 70% of people who shopped around for hotels last year used these sites.

Mr Coscelli said they wanted to make sure these sites “help, not hinder, people searching for their next hotel room.”

The investigation will look at how hotels are ranked after a search and if results are influenced by factors such as the amount of commission a hotel pays the site.

It will also look at discount claims to see if they are fair – such as claims based on a higher price that was only available for a brief period, or not relevant to the customer’s search.

Hidden charges, such as taxes or booking fees, will be considered too.

If the CMA finds that sites’ practices or claims are false or misleading and are breaking consumer law, it could take enforcement action.