Meliá Hotels fined €6.7 million by European Commission
Meliá Hotels received a hefty fine for discriminating travellers.
European Commission fines Meliá Hotels €6.7 million for discriminating travellers based on their country of residence.
The European Commission took a stand against hotels offering varying rates to European clients depending on their country of origin.
We find out more about the offence and who got busted for it.
Meliá Hotels fined by European Commission
In a recent ruling, the European Commission fined the Spanish Hotel Group Meliá a hefty €6.68 million for restricting tour operators in the way they offered hotel accommodation throughout Europe in 2014 and 2015.
“Consumers had access to offers at different prices depending on their nationality. Such a practice is illegal under the rules on anti-competitive practices,” European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager explained.
What was the problem, exactly?
The offending clause in contracts Meliá established with tour agencies stipulated that bookings at certain rates were only valid for travellers living in specific countries.
This meant that consumers could not see or book all available hotels at the best rates with tour operators established in other member states.
Cooperation paid off – literally
Since Meliá cooperated with the Commission beyond its legal obligations and expressly acknowledged the facts of its wrongdoing, the fine was marked down by 30%.
The overall penalty considers the value of the sales related to the offence, the seriousness of the case and how long it went on for.
Kuoni, REWE, Thomas Cook and TUI, four of the largest European tour operators, were investigated for the same reason due to consumer complaints, however, in their cases, it did not lead to prosecution.
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