Swiss investigate possible ‘abusive pricing’ by Booking.com

GENEVA (AP) — A Swiss government agency says it has opened an investigation into possible “abusive pricing” by the online reservations provider Booking.com.

Under Swiss law, the price watchdog agency, a sort of consumer-protection and competition agency, has the authority to intervene and set market prices in cases where a company with dominant market position is deemed to have set prices unfairly.

Agency official Stefan Meierhans said Wednesday that it found “indications” of “abusive high prices charged to hotels” seeking a Booking.com listing. He said hotel guests were not affected directly.

The agency has said Booking.com was “not interested in an amicable solution” and “did not want to engage in negotiations with the price watchdog.”

Booking.com, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Priceline Group, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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