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Sweden: Booking.com ordered to amend price parity clauses

 |  August 1, 2018

A Swedish court has ruled that Booking.com’s most-favored-nation clauses are a by-effect infringement of EU competition law—which prevents hotels from charging lower prices on their own websites than those listed on the hotel booking platform.  The Swedish Patent and Market Court issued its judgement forbidding Booking.com to impose parity clauses in its contracts with hotels from 20 October 2018 onwards.

This follows a ruling by Brussels, on July 19, banning the practice. Five other EU countries where the company operates have followed suit.

Parity clauses applied by online booking platforms forbid businesses to offer better conditions on their own websites than provided to the online intermediary. As 2 online booking platforms dominate over 82% of the increasing online intermediated hotel booking market in Europe, the current Swedish court decision partly released the platforms’ pressure from the market, allowing for fairer competition to the benefit of consumers’ and all businesses.

“The uncompetitive nature of parity clauses is more and more recognised by antitrust authorities, courts and policy makers all across Europe. The control over the own product and the conditions must remain with the businesses” said Markus Luthe, Chair of HOTREC’s (Europe’s Association of Hotels, Restaurants, Pubs, and Cafes) Distribution Task Force.

Full Content: Travel Daily News

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