Hungarian competition office inspectors raid Budapest office of Booking.com
Officials of Hungary’s competition watchdog GVH raided the Budapest office of Netherlands-based online booking platform Booking.com on September 6, the GVH confirmed media reports.
Officials gathered the necessary data during on-site inspections to identify possible market disruptions, it added.
Last month, GHV launched an expedited probe against the online platform over its debts owed to Hungarian tourism accommodation operators and has been gathering data from participants to assess the impact of late payment.
The probe will take a maximum of 30 days, which can be extended. The result of the probe will include specific proposals.
Booking.com owed money to around 2,300 hotel operators in Hungary in mid-August, most of them small, family-run businesses.
Around 28% said Booking.com owed them between HUF0.5mn-1mn (€1,292-2,583) and a quarter of them said they were waiting for transfers of over HUF1mn.
At the time, Booking.com said payments were delayed due to a change in accounting and bookkeeping software at the peak of the holiday seasons, but flaws emerged according to local media.
The Hungarian Tourism Agency (MTU) has offered legal assistance to the tourism accommodation operators affected.
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