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Austria Moves to Outlaw Travel Websites' Ban on Hotels Undercutting Prices - Reuters

Excerpt from Reuters

Austria on Tuesday launched new legislation to outlaw travel websites' practice of forbidding hotels from offering rooms at lower prices on their own sites, following similar moves by France and Germany.

So-called parity clauses in contracts between online booking sites and hotels are common in the industry and have led to complaints by rivals and scrutiny by regulators across Europe.

The practice allows online travel agents such as Booking.com, part of U.S.-based Priceline Group, to claim they always offer the cheapest online rates available.

After a weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner, who is also Austria's economy minister, said the government had submitted to parliament a change in legislation that would ban the practice. 

Lawmakers must now review it after their summer recess.

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