Popular hotel booking sites like Expedia, Travelocity, and Booking.com have been accused of conspiring to fix prices on hotel rooms, according to a lawsuit filed in San Francisco’s U.S. District court yesterday.
The lawsuit, which was filed by two consumers on behalf of hotel-room purchasers throughout the United States, claims that some of the Internet’s largest hotel booking sites conspired with hotel operators like Hilton, Starwood, and Marriott to fix prices and prevent consumers from purchasing rooms for discounted rates through smaller online retailers.
According to the lawsuit, hotel operators allegedly worked together with online booking sites to set minimum rates that the websites could charge consumers. If a booking site refused to comply with the hotel operator’s requests, then the hotel would stop doing business with the booking site altogether. Meanwhile, many of the largest booking sites benefited by preventing hotels from selling unsold rooms to third-party wholesalers at rates lower than what they were already offering on their sites.
As a result of these agreements, the plaintiffs claim U.S. consumers have been grossly overpaying for hotel stays and smaller booking websites have been put out of business. The lawsuit seeks unspecific damages, along with a court order to end hotel price fixing once and for all.
To see what FlyerTalk members have to say about the scandal, check out the thread in the Travel News forum.