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Booking.com still misleading customers, says watchdog

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Booking.com is still misleading its customers despite a crackdown by the CMA, following an investigation by Which?.

Earlier this month, The Competition and Markets Authority ruled that booking sites, such as booking.com, TripAdvisor and Google, must change the way they advertise availability of rooms, over concerns of pressure-selling and false discount claims.

As a result of an investigation, six companies, plus 25 firms including TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Google, signed up to the CMA’s sector wide principals for complying with consumer protection law.

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They agreed to make the changes by September.

However a new report from Which? Found that booking.com was still giving untrue accounts of the popularity of rooms, having discovered ‘clear evidence’ that the site was yet to ‘clean up its act’.

According to the consumer watchdog, five out of 10 of Booking.com’s “only 1 room left on our site” claims failed to give an accurate picture of availability.

Despite the move, Which? Travel’s Naomi Leach says consumers are still being pressured into making bookings.

Speaking to the BBC, she says: “We found clear evidence that Booking.com has not yet sufficiently cleaned up its act and is flouting the rules on pressure-selling, which could lead to millions of consumers being rushed into making a booking,” she said.

“It must now provide cast-iron guarantees that it won’t continue to mislead holidaymakers with these unscrupulous practices. Otherwise, the regulator will have to step in with strong action to bring it into line.”

A spokesperson for Booking.com told the BBC: “We work continuously to bring transparency, choice and value to travellers, constantly testing and improving the way in which we present our services online.

“We have worked hard to implement the commitments agreed with the CMA and maintain continuing collaboration and dialogue to inform ongoing enhancement of the consumer experience.”

Tags : booking sitesBooking.comCMACompetition and Markets Authorityhotels
Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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