Like The Herald Business Journal on Facebook!
The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us

The top local business stories in your email

Contact Us:

Josh O'Connor
Phone: 425-339-3007

Maureen Bozlinski
General Sales Manager
Phone: 425-339-3445
Fax: 425-339-3049

Jim Davis
Phone: 425-339-3097

Site address:
1800 41st Street, S-300,
Everett, WA 98203

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 930
Everett, WA 98206

HBJ RSS feeds

Expedia faces German probe over hotel deals

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon
Bloomberg News
Expedia's face a German antitrust probe into agreements with hotels that prevent online rivals from undercutting their prices.
Best-price clauses between online reservation platforms and hotels hinder other online services, the German cartel office said in an e-mailed statement Friday. The regulator banned another company, Hotel Reservation Service Robert Ragge GmbH, from using such clauses with German hotels, giving them until March 1 to delete them from existing contracts.
"Only at first view do most favored customer clauses used by online booking portals seem to benefit consumers," said Andreas Mundt, the head of Germany's Bundeskartellamt. "Ultimately the clauses prevent the offer of lower hotel prices elsewhere."
While the German probe accelerates, the companies made new concessions to settle a similar U.K. investigation. The U.K.'s Office of Fair Trading said Intercontinental Hotels Group Plc, Expedia Inc. and amended concessions they made in August to allay regulators' concerns and end a probe into online hotel bookings.
The OFT is seeking industry and consumer reaction to the changes, which would apply for three years to bookings made by all European customers for U.K. hotel rooms and clarify that hotels can make the same discounts to customers as online travel agencies.
British and German regulators last month dropped investigations into Inc.'s sales restrictions after it ended a ban on retailers using its site charging less for products they sold on other platforms.
Mundt said earlier this month that he wanted to send "a strong signal" on price guarantees and that different pricing for online and offline goods was "widespread" and that regulators were ready to examine the issues.



Market roundup