Booking.com suspected of cartel activity in GVH probe

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The Hungarian and Dutch operations of online lodging search website Booking.com are facing a probe by the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) on suspicion of cartel activity, GVH spokeswoman Andrea Basa confirmed to Hungarian radio station Trend FM, according to local media reports.

Online economic news website portfolio.hu reported that GVH agents had carried out a house search without prior warning at the companyʼs Hungarian offices, based on a court warrant.

The GVH believes that the platform of Booking.com has made it possible for advertisers to synchronize their prices. GVH therefore launched a probe into Booking.com Hungary Kft. and Booking.com International B.V. on March 7.

According to the authority, the Hungarian subsidiary has been sending out newsletters and e-mails to registered hospitality units that could have made it possible for them to synchronize their prices, Basa said, according to Hungarian online news portal index.hu. The spokeswoman noted that this meant the companies could have violated Hungarian and EU competition laws.

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