BAIT AND SWITCH Hotels sue Expedia

BAIT AND SWITCH Hotels sue Expedia

Expedia says it will look in to whether its own regulations were followed correctly after being accused of a “bait and switch” scam. Small independent California based hotels, Buckeye Tree Lodge And Sequoia Village Inn are suing the company claiming Expedia is using a “classic” portrayal of the method to lure customers away from booking at a particular property.

The lawsuit says:
“Expedia’s deceit is brazen. Expedia posts fake telephone numbers for Buckeye Tree Lodge and other class member hotels to divert callers to Expedia’s own operators, who then try to book the consumers at Expedia member hotels.”
“Believing Expedia’s representation that there is no availability at a class member hotel, consumers take their business to Expedia member hotels. And the bait and switch is complete.”
Buckeye’s two properties are not participating members of the Expedia booking programme, but travellers looking for the Buckeye on Google will find a number of search results with listings for the property. They can then find themselves either redirected to the homepage (Wotif, another Expedia brand) or find a blank page (Venere, again an Expedia website).
The complaint is seeking damages under false association and trademark infringement claims and under California state law for unfair competition, false advertising and unjust enrichment.
Attorney James Patterson alleges Expedia also buys Google and social media ads for non affiliated hotels, then shows zero availability and directs customers to other nearby hotels listed on its sites.
Expedia, Orbitz, Trivago and Hotels.com charge hotels a fee to book rooms via their website, but have no ability to book hotels that do not participate in their programme, including the Buckeye Tree Lodge and Sequoia Village Inn.

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