A judge in the state of Washington has ordered Expedia to pay $184 million in a four-year-old class-action lawsuit against the Internet travel agency. The lawsuit, filed in 2005 on behalf of Expedia customers, accused the company, which is based in Bellevue, of paying hotel taxes based on a room’s lower wholesale price but collecting based on its higher retail price. Also, Expedia was accused of bundling an additional service-fee charge with taxes into a single line item on a hotel bill, making the taxes appear higher than their actual amounts.
Upon a final judgment being entered, the company will be ordered to post a bond or another security for the full amount. The judge denied the Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on claims that the company violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act. Expedia will defend those charges in a trial. The judge ruled that Expedia should return $184 million in service fees to customers who booked a hotel stay from mid-February 2003 to mid-December 2006. Expedia says it will appeal the decision.
Source: The Seattle Times
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