FTC fishing expedition ends without penalty for Utah hotel reservation service company

The FTC ended another complaint without any official penalties after accusing a Utah hotel reservation service of misleading customers.  The FTC complaint alleged that consumers were misled into believing they were booking directly with the hotel.  The stipulated order completes the investigation which ended without any penalty against the Utah hotel reservation service company.

Hotel Reservation Service Companies

Reservation Counter, LLC specializes in providing travelers access to hotel choices and deals to find the accommodations that fit their needs. Based in Utah, Reservation Counter is part of TravelPass Group, a leading technology company in the travel industry with partnerships with independent and brand name hotels, wholesalers, and the largest travel agencies.

Travelers have so many choices when reserving hotels —from booking directly to using a travel agent to making a reservation through an aggregation site. And even within the aggregation sites, there is a wide range, from the big names like Expedia, Hotels.com, and Priceline to lesser known sites like Reservation Counter and AMOMA.

Misleading Advertising is Counter-effective

Even legitimate sites can run into trouble if consumers are confused. Reservation Counter made some cosmetic changes in recent months on the advice of a Google team, increasing the size of its logo and changing some of its ad links to make its own branding clearer. “It doesn’t do any good to mislead or deceive consumers,” the spokesman said. “You can’t brand if you’re confusing customers.”

Another FTC “Swing and a Miss”

Recently the FTC settled allegations against Reservation Counter and its affiliates, asking for minor changes to the website, but without any evidence to justify a penalty or any further enforcement actions.  As a reward for introducing innovation and competition to keep prices low for consumers, the FTC filed another complaint against a consumer service oriented business that ultimately failed to produce any violations worthy of prosecution.