An independent hotel operator has filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Northern California, against Expedia, Inc., Hotels.com, L.P., Hotels.com GP, LLC, Orbitz, LLC and Trivago, GmbH. The operator of the Buckeye Tree Lodge and Sequoia Village Inn in Three Rivers, CA, is suing the online travel companies for false advertising and unfair competition. A qualified advertising expert will be needed to help determine whether or not the online travel companies’ methods qualify as false advertising. Deceptive or false advertising refers to a company using misleading or false statements when promoting a product.
The plaintiff accuses the online travel companies of unfair business practices, including making false statements about the availability of rooms at non-member hotels in order to divert customers to their own sites. The Buckeye Tree Lodge and Sequoia Village Inn are situated near the entrance to the Sequoia National Park in California and Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim will preside in the case against four of the leading web-based hotel booking sites. Expedia alone has grown to a global internet booking company with reported assets of $16.73B as of June 30, 2016. In 2015, Expedia purchased Sabre‘s Travelocity business for $280M in cash.
Advertising expert witnesses are qualified to analyze business practices and testify in cases alleging false advertising and unfair competition. They are knowledgeable on a wide variety of laws and regulations, including those put in place by the Federal Trade Commission to prevent fraud, deception and unfair business practices. These experts are experienced in evaluating whether advertisements are false or misleading as well as opining on the validity of the plaintiff’s case in seeking restitution and damages for false advertising and unfair competition.