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HomeBusinessBooking.com fined 14.9 million euros for market monopoly in Russia

Booking.com fined 14.9 million euros for market monopoly in Russia

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Russia’s Antimonopoly Agency has fined the website ‘Booking.com’ for allegedly dominating the market.

The agency recorded a penalty of 14.9 million euros.

Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation (FAS) said the online lodging reservation website had misused its “dominant position.”

The (FAS) regulator fined the company that resides in the Netherlands with 1.3 billion rubles.

Russia accused Booking.com of preventing Russian hotels and lodgings from offering their services at lower prices on other platforms.

Additionally, the Agency decided to fine the company after a Russian NGO filed a complaint against it.

The close-to-government NGO is reputable for defending the rights of small and medium companies.

“Booking.com abused their dominance in the Russian market for information provision about aggregators’ services on distribution facilities,” FAS stated.

“This means hotels cannot set lower prices for their services on other sales channels,” the regulator explained.

“Those actions curb competition in the market and harm hotels’ interests,” it added.

Booking.com defiance

The FAS said it had warned Booking.com in 2020 and ordered it to stop its anti-competitive strategy.

However, FAS said the company did not comply and kept the ‘price consistency’ condition in its contracts with Russian hotels.

According to the Russian TASS news agency, Booking.com stated that the FAS decision was “disappointing” and would appeal in court.

In the last couple of months, the Russian authorities have increased their aggression against foreign tech companies and social networks.

Privacy issues

Furthermore, a Moscow court fined Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp on Thursday for violating a law that required they record Russian user data.

According to Roskomnadzor, the Russian internet watchdog, Twitter’s fine was 17 million rubles (195,000 euros).

However, Facebook was fined 15 million rubles (172,000 euros).

As well as WhatsApp, which the Russian authorities fined for the first time 4 million rubles (45,000 euros).

Roskomnadzor said 600 firms, including Booking.com, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung, have complied with the law so far.

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