Booking.com defends pricing after Swiss launch investigation

GENEVA - Online travel giant Booking.com is defending its policy on the commissions it charges in Switzerland after a state agency opened an investigation into alleged "abusive" pricing.

Spokeswoman Leslie Cafferty of parent company Priceline Group says Booking.com told the Swiss price watchdog in a June meeting that its commission rates were "appropriate" compared to competitors as well as rates charged in comparable countries. She did not specify those rates.

Switzerland's price watchdog agency said Wednesday it found evidence that Booking.com may be charging hotels "abusive high prices." Under Swiss law, the agency has the authority to intervene and set market prices in some cases.

Cafferty said Thursday that Booking.com's rates apply to "the value of the services" that it provides, and that the company hasn't raised rates in Switzerland since 2010.


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