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22nd February, 2019

GVH investigates Booking.com

GVH has launched an investigation into the activities of online accommodation booking agency Booking.com in Hungary, the competition authority announced yesterday.

The GVH suspects the website of engaging in deceptive practices by pressuring clients to book with such messages as “32 potential clients are visiting this page” and “someone is thinking of booking this room now”.

The GVH is also examining whether advertised free cancellations are genuinely free to clients or not.

As another aspect of its inquiry, the authority is looking into whether Booking.com pays proper attention to the pricing of Hungarian hosts, especially the possibility of using the Széchenyi leisure card, a reduced tax fringe benefit card.

The UK competition authority recently accepted voluntary restraints by six online accommodation booking agencies, including Booking.com, concerning some criticised activities, the GVH noted.

Sources regularly consulted, with abbreviations used in text: Népszabadság (N); Magyar Hírlap (MH); Világgazdaság (VG); Napi Gazdaság (NG); Magyar Nemzet (MN); Népszava (Nsz); Kossuth Rádió news (KR); nightly TV news (TV).

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