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Hotel groups currently under investigation by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading

Top hotel brands in price-fixing scandal

According to dotwnews.com, three major hotel groups are currently under investigation by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over claims of price-fixing. The accused hotels; Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Radisson and Thistle have allegedly been secretly setting room rates with online travel agents and ordering them not to offer any discounts.

If the hotel groups are found guilty of fixing prices, a fine of around 10 percent of their annual turnover could be imposed, which could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

The investigation began after a traveller contacted the OFT when he saw rooms at the five-star Radisson May Fair hotel in London advertised at exactly the same rate on various websites. On Expedia, Travelocity and Booking.com the room rate was advertised at US$337 the same as the hotel’s website. He thought this wasn’t a coincidence but a prime example of price fixing.

Holidaymakers could have paid hundreds of pounds over what they should have.

A spokesman for Starwood said, “Starwood Hotels & Resorts requires our properties to adhere to all legislation and takes this matter seriously. Starwood has not been contacted by the Office of Fair Trading but is willing to assist with any information they require.”

A spokesman for the OFT said, “The investigation was at a relatively early stage. “After a preliminary review of the evidence gathered to date, the OFT continues to consider this matter as an administrative priority and is pursuing the investigation further.”

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