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UK: Former OFT slammed for ‘flawed’ pricing investigation

 |  July 29, 2014

The former Office of Fair Trading, which was recently merged with the Competition Commission to become the Competition and Markets Authority, conducted a flawed competition probe into online hotel pricing companies, Skyscanner claims.

According to reports, Skyscanner argues that an agreement the OFT reached with rivals Intercontinental Hotels Group, Expedia and Booking.com is insufficient because the settlement allows “residual” competition restrictions to remain in place. What’s more, the company said, the settlement introduced a new competition restriction in barring the advertising of new discounts.

The OFT concluded its investigation into the three companies after two years and found the firms to have unfairly set hotel room prices. The companies were not fined because they agreed to the OFT’s demanded concessions.

But Skyscanner says that the OFT used flawed processes to reach those concessions; the company is now seeking a dismissal of the OFT’s original ruling and a re-opening of the case. The Competition Appeal Tribunal will hear the appeal. If successful, the CMA will re-launch the case.

Full content: Travolution

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