Online Travel Companies Accused of Price Fixing

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Courtesy 401(K) 2012/Flickr

If you use online travel–booking tools, you’ve probably asked yourself once or twice, “Can I really trust these guys?” The answer, apparently, is in some cases “no.”

The UK’s Office of Fair Trading, a consumer regulator, announced last week that it was going to take action against several online travel companies and hotel chains, most notably Expedia, Booking.com, and InterContinental, for price fixing. The online companies are accused of trying to prevent hotels from selling hotel rooms below certain price minimums by threatening to remove the hotels from their sites.

The UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph reported that Expedia admitted it “engaged in cartel conduct on breach of the law” and is now cooperating with the investigation. The Telegraph notes that Expedia will likely receive leniency for cooperating, and may implicate other online travel companies and hotel chains in the scandal.

Online tools have become such an integral part of our everyday travel research, we’re wondering if this alleged price fixing among some of the major players will have any affect on your online booking habits. Does this news change your likelihood of using Expedia or Booking.com in the future?

—Robert Firpo–Cappiello

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