EU: hotel group Meliá fined with €6.7 million for discriminating between customers

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The European Commission has fined Spanish hotel group Meliá €6 678 000 for including restrictive clauses in its agreements with tour operators. These clauses discriminate consumers within the European Economic Area (EEA) based on their place of residence, in breach of EU antitrust rules. (…)

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This time of the year, many people are booking their summer vacation and are looking for the best deals on offer. Meliá prevented tour operators from freely offering hotel accommodation everywhere in Europe. As a result, consumers had access to different offers and different prices based on their nationality. This is illegal under antitrust rules. Consumers should be able to make full use of the Single Market and to shop around for the best deal.”

(…) The Commission investigation showed that Meliá entered into contracts with tour operators that restricted active and passive sales for hotel accommodation. More specifically, Meliá’s standard terms and conditions for contracts with tour operators contained a clause according to which those contracts were valid only for reservations of consumers who were resident in specified countries. These agreements may have partitioned the European Single Market by restricting the ability of the tour operators to sell freely the hotel accommodation in all EEA countries and to respond to direct requests from consumers who were residents outside the defined countries. (…)

The fine imposed by the Commission on Meliá amounts to €6 678 000. The infringement that was investigated had a duration of two years, covering the years 2014 and 2015.

Action for damages. Any person or company affected by anti-competitive behaviour as described in this case may bring the matter before the courts of the Member States and seek damages.”

Source: The European Sting

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