The Polish Competition Authority (UOKiK) is conducting explanatory proceedings to examine the activities of online booking platforms present on the Polish market. UOKiK has already requested the companies operating these platforms to stop using so-called “best-price” clauses.
The challenged “best-price” provisions are applied in contracts with hotel owners, and guarantee that the price offered by an online booking platform is the best. As a result, other entities, as well as the owners of the hotels themselves, cannot offer better rates than the rates available on a booking platform. According to UOKiK, this practice may be anticompetitive.
The current proceedings are not conducted against any specific company. According to UOKiK, immediate change of the market practice will prevent the instigation of antimonopoly proceedings against companies that operate booking platforms. If such proceedings are instituted a company found by UOKiK to have infringed competition law can be fined up to 10% of its turnover in the financial year before the decision was issued.
UOKiK is not the only regulator investigating best-price clauses. In the course of the proceedings the authority is cooperating with the European Commission and the authorities of other EU member states. Such practices are already being examined by the authorities in Germany, France, Sweden and Italy.