The online hotel booking platform “Booking.com” is committed to aligning its practices regarding the presentation of offers and prices with European Union (EU) law, the European Commission said on Friday.
“Following dialogue with the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities, Booking.com has committed to changing the way it presents offers, prices and discounts to consumers. Once these new changes are fully implemented by Booking, it will be easier for consumers to make an informed comparison of the different offers, as required by EU consumer protection legislation”, explains the European executive in a press release.
Booking.com has thus committed to making several changes to its practices by June 16, 2020 at the latest, notes the Commission.
In particular, this is to make it clear to platform users that any mention such as “Last room available” relates exclusively to the offer offered on the Booking.com platform, not to present an offer as being limited in the time if the accommodation will still be available at the same price later and to specify how the results are classified and if any commissions paid by the accommodation service provider to Booking.com have influenced its position in the results list.
The platform should also ensure that it appears clearly when a price comparison is based on different data (for example dates of stay) and that this comparison is not presented as a discount, ensure that the price comparisons displayed as discounts represent real savings and display, in a clear and visible manner, the total price that consumers will have to pay (including all inevitable fees, charges and taxes which can be reasonably calculated in advance).
“All companies wishing to operate in the EU must comply with our strict consumer protection standards. It is essential that market-leading companies such as Booking.com assume their responsibilities in this area, ensuring that online accommodation reservation systems are free from any manipulation technique”, insisted Didier Reynders, Commissioner European Commission for Justice and Consumers, cited in the press release.
According to the European Commission, the national consumer protection authorities will assess the implementation of the commitments made by Booking at a later stage.