Russia: Booking.com Fined 14.9 Million Euros for Abuse of Dominant Position
The Russian anti-monopoly agency (FAS) announced on Thursday that it had fined online accommodation booking site Booking.com a record fine of 14.9 million euros for “abusing its dominant position”. This decision was taken following a complaint lodged by a Russian NGO specializing in particular in the defense of the rights of SMEs, known to be close to power.
Booking.com, one of the global internet hotel booking giants, headquartered in the Netherlands, “has abused its dominant position in the Russian market for online accommodation booking sites”, denounced the FAS. The latter accused him of having imposed on hotels and youth hostels “the obligation to respect price parity“.
Booking.com will appeal
“For hotels, this meant that they could not set prices lower than Booking.com for their services,” said a statement from the regulator. “Such actions restrict competition in the market and harm the interests of hotels,” he said.
In December 2020, the FAS ordered Booking.com to end its “anti-competitive practices” by removing the price parity condition from its contracts with Russian hotels. But “so far, the company has not obeyed this injunction,” laments the regulator.
For its part, Booking.com said it was “disappointed” by the FAS decision. “We will appeal the fine,” the company said in a statement, quoted by the official Russian agency TASS, defending a “fair” practice of price parity. Founded in 1996, Booking.com offers some 28 million listings on its site, available in 43 languages.