MILAN Italy's competition watchdog has fined
travel website TripAdvisor 500,000 euros ($613,000) for
publishing misleading information in its reviews, it said on
The fine follows a seven-month investigation into whether
the website takes appropriate measures to avoid publishing false
opinions while presenting them as genuine, following a complaint
from consumers and hotel owners in Italy.
The Rome-based regulator said the U.S. company and its
Italian arm should stop "publishing misleading information about
the sources of its reviews", adding that the practice started in
TripAdvisor, a travel website that gathers readers' reviews
of hotels and restaurants around the world, said it disagreed
with the antitrust authority's decision and would appeal it.
"Our systems and procedures are extremely efficient in
protecting consumers from a small minority of people who try to
con our system," it said in a statement.
The authority gave TripAdvisor 90 days to respond, saying
its move was aimed at ensuring consumers do not make decisions
based on information that does not correspond to reality.
The Italian fine is the latest in competition troubles that
have hit travel websites.
Earlier this month, the European Commission said online
travel agent booking.com offered to scrap a practice which
prevents hotels from giving discounts to its rivals in a bid to
end investigations by authorities in France, Sweden and Italy.