Possible Expedia Class Action Lawsuit
A lawsuit has been filed in Seattle on December 17th alleging that Expedia and certain subsidiaries of the company including Hotels.com have been illegally over charging customers inflated government taxes and fees on pre-paid hotel bookings and pocketing the difference between the actual taxes and fees paid to the government.
The lawsuit seeks to certify a class that includes anyone who booked a hotel from January 2014 until now through specified sites where the inventory was supplied by Expedia. The suit estimates that Expedia overcharged customers to the tune of 95 Million Dollars by disguising additional fees as “mandatory government taxes and fees.”
The complaint asserts that Expedia represents the “Taxes & Fees” charge as the money “hotels must pay to the government”. Using specific examples the lawsuit seeks to illustrate that amounts charged by Expedia are inflated because they’re “always higher than the taxes remitted on the hotel rooms.” Page 4 of the official complaint (can be found here) gives a bunch of examples of the alleged unlawful charges including booking made at the Ritz and Hyatt.
We’ll have to keep an eye on this one since the class has not yet been certified and the case is only in the early complaint phase. These charges could be pretty significant for many frequent travelers as Hotels.com and Expedia are a few of the largest OTA’s around. It definitely helps the consumer that the fees were allegedly disguised as government fees since the government will have a strong interest in determining whether a company was defrauding customers under the guise of taxes.