The Supreme Court refused to cancel the Booking.com fine of 1.3 billion rubles

The Supreme Court refused to cancel the Booking.com fine of 1.3 billion rubles
Photo: https://www.vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2022/08/18/936679-verhovnii-sud-shtraf-bookingcom?utm_campaign=newspaper_19_8_2022&utm_medium=email&utm_source=vedomosti 19.08.2022 182

The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation refused to satisfy the complaint of Booking.com B.V., which demanded the cancellation of a turnover fine of 1.3 billion rubles imposed by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) for abuse of a dominant position.

The Court recognized the decisions of the lower instances as justified. In this regard, the Court did not consider it necessary to consider this case at a meeting of the Collegium for Economic Disputes. 

FAS found Booking.com guilty of violating antitrust laws back in August 2021. Based on the results of inspections, FAS concluded that the company, having a market share of more than 80%, imposed a pricing policy on hotels, forbidding them to sell rooms at a price lower than those published on the site platforms. Since then, the aggregator has unsuccessfully tried to cancel the fine in arbitration courts. He referred to the validity of his actions - so that hotels could not indicate higher prices on the service. This would motivate guests to book rooms directly with the property. 

Hoteliers, in turn, complained that Booking.com's monopoly led to higher commissions for hotels and an increase in the cost of services for end consumers, since it also included a fee that the hotel must pay to the aggregator.

Since March 5, Booking.com has suspended work in Russia and Belarus against the backdrop of a special military operation in Ukraine, before that Airbnb, a booking service, made a similar decision.

The initiator of the appeal to the FAS was the public organization Opora Rossii. Its vice-president Alexei Kozhevnikov considers this court precedent to be very important, it sends a signal to all digital platforms to take into account the opinions and interests of entrepreneurs. 

Source: Vedomosti

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