Internet

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Italy: OTAs succeed against Ryanair over website access

With decision No. 7825/2013 of June 4, 2013, the Court of Milan has held that Ryanair’s refusal to grant access to its database and booking procedures to an online travel agency was an abuse of its dominant market position. Ryanair's General Conditions for the use of its website interdicted any access for commercial purposes an thus excluded OTAs from intermediation business. The court ruled that Ryanair has to allow OTAs access to its database and booking procedures.

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EU: New legislation on Alternative and Online Dispute Resolution

On 12 March 2013, the European Parliament voted to support the new legislation on Alternative Dispute Resolution and Online Dispute Resolution. The vote confirms the political agreement reached in December 2012 on the two legislative proposals put forward by the European Commission in 2011. The new legislation will now soon be adopted.

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California: Attorney General files Law Suit against Delta Airlines over mobile app

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has filed a complaint against Delta, alleging that Delta has failed to conspicuously post a privacy policy on its mobile application, in violation of California’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“CalOPPA”).

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USA: Federal Trade Commission requires hotels to disclose all mandatory surcharges

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned 22 hotel operators that their online reservation sites may violate the law by providing a deceptively low estimate of what consumers can expect to pay for their hotel rooms. According to the FTC letters, one common complaint consumers raised involved mandatory fees hotels charge for amenities such as newspapers, use of onsite exercise or pool facilities, or internet access, sometimes referred to as ‘resort fees'.

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USA: DOT fines Travelzoo for violation of Code-Share Disclosure Rules

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has assessed a USD 50,000 penalty against the online ticket agent Travelzoo for failing to properly disclose to consumers when flights were being operated under a code-sharing arrangement, and ordered the company to cease and desist from future violations.

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Germany: court decides that airline can ban OTA from access to its booking website

The plaintiff, an Irish low cost carrier, exclusively sells tickets through its own website or its call center in order to keep the fares low and avoid customers being charged with any service fees by third parties. To book a flight on the website it is required to accept the carrier's General Condtions of Contract. These General Condtions of Contract explicitly exclude travel agents or other professional sellers from booking.

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USA: defamation lawsuit against TripAdvisor dismissed

TripAdvisor.com provides information on various hotels, resorts and restaurants worldwide. Visitors to TripAdvisor's website can review these businesses by responding to surveys or post comments about their personal experiences. Based on these reviews, TripAdvisor compiles and publishes rankings, categorizing the businesses listed. In 2011 a ranking of "dirtiest hotels" identified the Grand Resort Hotel & Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, as the "dirtiest hotel in America".

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CJEU: inclusion of flight cancellation insurance as a default setting unlawful when selling air tickets over the internet

A German consumer-protection association has taken proceedings against ebookers.com before the German courts with a view to requiring that company to refrain from automatically including cancellation insurance with the air fare:

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UK: British Airways to check passengers on Google?

According to an article by Margaret Tofalides from Manches LLP, published on lexology.com, British Airways is planning to use information from the internet to create dossiers on passengers. The programme would search Google images in order to find pictures of passengers so that they can be identified by the BA staff. It would would also search data held by BA, including records of previous flights and complaints. The programme, of course, raises data protection and privacy concerns.

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Austria: tricky copyright traps in hotel advertising

The plaintiff, a painter, had made a sales exhibition of her paintings in the premises of the defendant hotel company. After the exhibition, the paintings (none of which had been sold) remained in the hotel for some time for a monthly fee to be paid by the defendant. During the exhibition, pictures of the hotel were taken which the defendant then used on its website. On one of these pictures, the plaintiff's painting "Mozart Symponie No 41" could be seen hanging on a wall in the background.

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