Russian Antimonopoly Service Warned Booking.com about Violation of Law
OREANDA-NEWS. The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of the Russian Federation has ordered Booking.com B.V., the owner of the eponymous hotel reservation service, to stop violating Russian law. The FAS report indicates that the audit of Booking.com revealed signs of abuse of dominant position in the market by the company.
The authority considered the inclusion in the agreements on cooperation with hotels and other “accommodation facilities” of the condition that they observe price and room parity to be a violation of national antimonopoly legislation. In accordance with this rule, hotels connected with Booking.com do not have the right to rent rooms cheaper than other online resources (including their own website), or reduce prices for offline clients, tourists who come directly to the hotel. According to the FAS, such a norm leads to a restriction of competition in the market.
A warning based on the results of the Booking.com check was issued. According to it, the company should “exclude from the agreements with Russian providers of accommodation services requirements for parity of prices and rooms with respect to third parties within a month”.In February 2019, the Russian non-governmental organization of small and medium-sized businesses “Support of Russia” appealed to the FAS with a complaint about the parity rule adopted by Booking.com. The representatives of “Support of Russia” believe that the imposition of a policy of price parity occurs because Booking.com uses its monopoly position. The association of entrepreneurs sees here a contradiction to the national law on the protection of competition.