Booking.com still misleading customers, Which? Travel finds

Booking.com still misleading customers, Which? Travel finds

Booking.com is still giving customers a false impression of room availability, research revealed on Thursday.

Which? Travel said that the hotel booking site continues to give a false impression of availability in order to pressure customers into quickly booking.

Research shows that the “one room left on our site” prompts were false when entering the booking page.

Booking.com, is among six websites – including Expedia, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and Trivago – that were previously investigated for pressuring customers into purchasing, hidden costs, and other misleading tactics.

Indeed, the websites were given until 01 September as a deadline to implement change. However, Which? Travel has found that Booking.com has not taken enough action.

“Our snapshot research repeatedly found that ‘only 1 room left on our site’ prompts didn’t ring true when clicking through to the booking page,” said Which? Travel.

“In one case, the site was offering another 34 rooms at the same London hotel – 10 of which were almost identical and cheaper in price than the ‘last room’ listed,” Which? Travel used as an example.

CEO of the Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA), Andrea Coscelli, said that “the CMA will now be watching to make sure that these major brands, used by millions of people in the UK every year, stay true to their word.”

“We will take action if we find evidence that firms are breaking consumer law.”

Indeed, the Competition and Marketing Authority found that misleading room availability remarks, or not displaying the full cost up front, are potential breaches of consumer protection law.

In a response, a spokesperson from Booking.com told Which? Travel that the site had worked hard to implement change.

“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,” a Booking.com spokesperson told Sky News.

The Competition and Marketing Authority added that 25 companies, which include TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Google, have each agreed to change the way they display information in order to abide by consumer protection law.