Booking.com commits to align practices presenting offers and prices with EU law following EU action
Following dialogue with the EC and national consumer authorities, Booking.com has committed to make changes in the way it presents offers, discounts & 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.
Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice and Consumers, said: "All companies must meet our high consumer law standards if they want to do business in the EU. As a market leader, it is vital that companies like Booking.com meet their responsibilities in this area, ensuring that online accommodation reservation systems are free from manipulative techniques such as hiding sponsoring in ranking, unduly putting time pressure on users or misrepresenting rebates. The European Commission and national consumer authorities will continue to monitor all online travel platforms to ensure a fair online environment for consumers.”
The European Commission and national consumer protection (CPC) authorities, under the lead of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), assessed the commitments that Booking.com proposed at EU/EEA level, following contacts spanning the last year. CPC authorities are confident that the commitments will bring the company's practices 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.
The EU Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation links national consumer authorities in a pan-European enforcement network. On that basis, a national authority in one EU country can request the assistance of their counterpart in another EU country to stop a cross-border infringement of EU consumer law.
The new CPC Regulation, which will be applicable as of 17 January 2020, will reform this current framework by extending its scope to allow cooperation in new areas such as infringements of short duration or fighting misleading advertising campaigns.
It will also strengthen the powers of the competent authorities to cooperate in the cross-border context, and especially to tackle bad online practices more quickly. It will put in place stronger coordinated mechanisms to investigate and tackle widespread infringements.
The new Directive on better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules, part of the New Deal For Consumers, was adopted on 27 November 2019 and amends existing EU consumer law instruments by further enhancing transparency for consumers when they buy on online marketplaces, make online searches or consult user reviews.
For more information
Complete list of commitments
Latest News from
Christine Lagarde: How can a united Europe meet the challenges it faces today?24/01/2020 15:20:00
Opening remarks by Christine Lagarde, President of the ECB, during a dinner on "Uniting Europe" at the World Economic Forum
Artificial intelligence: EU must ensure a fair and safe use for consumers24/01/2020 14:20:00
MEPs want a strong set of rights to protect consumers in the context of artificial intelligence and automated decision-making.
Show us the money for new policy proposals, MEPs tell budget commissioner24/01/2020 13:20:00
During a debate with budget commissioner Johannes Hahn on 22 January, members of the Parliament’s negotiating team for the EU's next long-term budget expressed concern that the Commission’s budget proposal for how the EU should spend its money the next seven years no longer adds up.
The EESC bids farewell to its UK members with the promise of maintaining close ties with UK civil society24/01/2020 12:20:00
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) paid tribute to its British members on 22 January 2020 at the last plenary session they will attend before the UK leaves the EU on 31 January.
Brexit: the Withdrawal Agreement passes the first European Parliament test24/01/2020 11:20:00
The Constitutional Affairs Committee agreed on Thursday to recommend that the EP plenary should approve the UK withdrawal terms.
Mobility package: Transport Committee backs deal with EU Ministers23/01/2020 14:20:00
The revised rules for posting of drivers, drivers’ rest times & better enforcement of cabotage rules aim to put an end to distortion of competition in the road transport sector and provide better rest conditions for drivers.
French and Dutch migrant smuggling ring halted with 23 arrests23/01/2020 12:20:00
In a joint action by French & Dutch authorities, 23 persons have been arrested on suspicion of facilitating the illegal transport of approximately 10 000 Kurdish migrants to the UK in refrigerated lorries & small rubber boats, starting from various parking areas in France.
No more lead in PVC to protect public health, Environment Committee says22/01/2020 15:25:00
To protect human health and the environment, the Environment Committee objected on Tuesday to a EC proposal allowing lead in recycled PVC.
Future of Europe: debate on reforming the EU22/01/2020 13:25:00
The Conference on the future of Europe is a new initiative looking at what legal changes are needed to better prepare the EU for the future. It is expected to run for two years, involving a cross-section of society to give people the chance to contribute.
Canada – edible cannabis products may now be sold in Canada22/01/2020 09:25:00
From 16 December 2019, edible cannabis products are permitted to be sold in Canada. These must comply with new regulations for edible, inhalable & topical products, designed to reduce the risk of accidental consumption or overconsumption.