Are travel websites, hotels price-fixing?

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - Are you paying too much when you book vacations online? New accusations are being leveled at some of the most popular travel websites, claiming that they are price-fixing hotel room rates.

They're the websites that claim to save you money -- Priceline, Travelocity, Expedia and Orbitz.

The lawsuit, filed by the Hagens Berman law firm in Seattle, claims online travel booking sites account for as much as 50 percent of hotel bookings in the United States. The suit claims it's why big name hotels Marriott, Intercontinental, Sheraton and Hilton have signed contracts with the online booking sites agreeing that they won't sell rooms for a lower price to competitors.

In response to these allegations, Orbitz, Travelocity and Marriott told NBC that the lawsuit is without merit. Intercontinental said it believes its pricing practices and arrangements with online booking agencies are within the law.

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