Booking.com commits to align practices presenting offers and prices with EU law following EU action
The Consumer Agency wants to draw attention to a press release from the European Commission on an agreement made with Booking.com. The notification states that following a dialogue with the European Commission and national consumer authorities, Booking.com has committed to make changes in the way it presents offers, discounts and prices to consumers. Once these new changes are fully applied by Booking, consumers should be better able to make informed comparisons in line with the requirements of EU consumer law.
Booking.com has committed to make the following changes to their practices by 16 June 2020 at the latest:
• Make clear to consumers that any statement such as “last room available!” refers only to the offer on the Booking.com platform;
• Not present an offer as being time-limited if the same price will still be available afterwards;
• Clarify how results are ranked and, whether payments made by the accommodation provider to Booking.com have influenced its position in the list of results;
• Ensure that it is clear when a price comparison is based on different circumstances (e.g. stay dates) and not present that comparison as a discount;
• Ensure that price comparisons presented as discounts represent genuine savings, e.g. by providing details about the Standard Rate price taken as a reference;
• Display the total price that the consumers will have to pay (including all unavoidable charges, fees and taxes that can reasonably be calculated in advance) in a clear and prominent way;
• Present sold-out accommodation in a position in the search results that is appropriate to the search criteria;
• Clearly indicate whether an accommodation is offered by a private host or a professional.
As next steps, national consumer protection authorities will assess the implementation of these commitments. These were made without prejudice to any other assessment of compliance with consumer law principles that authorities may raise in the context of national administrative or judicial proceedings. Under the coordination of the Commission, the authorities will also assess the practices of other major online travel services platforms.