Hotels fail to show VAT cost online

Nearly half the major hotel chains in the UK are breaching regulations by not including VAT in headline prices online, according to Which? Travel magazine.

It found that of 24 hotel chains used by Which? readers, 11 hotels did not initially show VAT to those booking online.

Trading standards experts have warned hotels that they are potentially breaching consumer protection regulations.

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Which? Travel carried out a snapshot search of London hotels last month and found that 11 chains displayed an initial price on their websites that excluded VAT.

The 11 chains were Crowne Plaza, Doubletree by Hilton, Guoman, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Malmaison, Marriott, Mercure, Radisson Blu, Sofitel and Thistle.

The magazine said several properties did not include VAT, which adds 20 per cent to the cost of a room, until their payment page. Hilton and Doubletree by Hilton included VAT at stage four of a five-stage booking process.

Which? Travel said the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint that VAT-exclusive prices of websites of Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and its subsidiary Crowne Plaza were misleading and breached the ASA code.

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