Booking.com is now being investigated by the Russian government for allegedly violating the country’s regulations. According to Reuters, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) had concluded that the hotel reservations website had engaged in actions that are considered anti-competitive.
The FAS had discovered that Booking.com had made requests to hotels and hostels in the Russian Federation to offer identical prices on rival reservation sites. As the one found on Booking.com. According to Russian law, Booking.com’s contract with the country’s hotels and hostels prohibits them from offering better rates on other reservations sites (e.g. Expedia, Agoda, TripAdvisor, etc.).
The FAS had apparently given Booking.com a chance to address the issue; it warned the site about its practices back in November this year, but the company failed to respond to the government body.
The investigation is currently ongoing, but if the FAS finds enough or conclusive evidence that Booking.com did indeed breach Russia’s anti-monopoly laws, the company may be fined as much as 15% of its revenue generated in the country.
In Booking.com’s case, the Russian development is the latest anti-competitive incidents to follow in its trail. Earlier this month, the company was forced to make changes to its offers for hotels in the EU. After the European Commission concluded that the US-based company had engaged in “manipulative techniques” on its site.