Another hotel price fixing class action emerges in the US, same defendants as previous complaints
Are we seeing the floodgates beginning to open with the hotel price parity issue? Perhaps so, with news of another attempt at a class action in the US against online travel agencies and hotel chains.
The latest to emerge has materialised in the state of Texas where an individual, James Smith on San Antonio, who has cited the same names in the industry as last week’s class action in California:
- Trump International Hotels
- Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group
- InterContinental Hotels Group
- Hilton Worldwide
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts
In the court documents filed at Dallas Federal Court, Smith highlights a recent experience when he tried to book a room in Las Vegas via Expedia.
Smith says he was unable to get the best deal because the hotel (Treasure Island Hotel and Casino) because of an alleged secret agreement between it and Expedia so that customer do not pay less than a “guaranteed minimum mark-up”.
He adds that he was forced to pay “artificially inflated prices due to the conspiracy and has been damaged by the conduct” of the defendants.
The documents filed in Texas are almost identical in terms of structure and wording of the complaint, hinting at a wider and coordinated grass-roots campaign emerging.
The California and Texas class actions come just just three weeks after a UK regulator issued a “statement of objections” to Expedia, Booking.com and InterContinental, alleging the two OTAs entered in to individual agreements with the hotel giant which “restricted the online travel agency’s ability to discount the price of room-only accommodation”.
The defendants in the case(s) are currently keeping quiet, with no commentary emerging from any of the companies cited in the two class actions.
NB: Hotel bell money image via Shutterstock.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.