Travel Technology Association Seeks Changes to FTC Junk Fees Rule
Comments Advocate for Intermediaries and Liability Protections When Travel Suppliers Fail to Provide Accurate Mandatory Fee Information
February 8, 2024 — The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) filed comments on the FTC’s Trade Regulation Rule on Unfair or Deceptive Fees NPRM. Travel Tech expressed support for the Commission’s continued efforts to enhance competition and pricing transparency for consumers but advocated that revisions be made about who should be held liable when inaccurate mandatory fee information is provided by travel service providers, including hotels.
Travel Tech provided detailed information in its comments about the indirect distribution channel, where millions of price points are transmitted from hotels and other travel service providers to Travel Tech member companies and other intermediaries. This complex process is critical to enabling the price and quality comparison tools consumers rely on.
“Travel Tech is committed to enhancing the consumer travel experience through transparency and competition,” said Laura Chadwick, President and CEO of Travel Tech. “However, the FTC’s proposed rule assumes that hotels will pass along its mandatory fee information – charges only they know and possess – but this is not always the case.”
Travel Tech strongly urged the Commission to revise its proposed rule to make clear that Intermediaries are not liable when Travel Service Providers fail to provide accurate, complete, and timely mandatory fee information as long as Intermediaries make reasonable efforts to receive such information.
Six years ago, Congress passed a law that held that intermediaries cannot be found liable when air carriers operating in the United States fail to provide information or data is required for intermediaries to comply with a rule about customer service information (FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-254 § 427, 132 Stat. 3340.). In addition, thirty-nine states have similar laws in place when sellers provide inaccurate sales tax information to marketplaces. In its comments, Travel Tech argued that the FTC should apply similar standards in its final rule.
The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy that promotes marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including online travel agencies, metasearch engines, short-term rental platforms, global distribution systems, and travel management companies.
To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Bradford Williamson of Glen Echo Group at 202.870.3234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.