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Bipartisan bill would crack down on online hotel booking scams

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers has reintroduced legislation aimed at cracking down on online hotel booking scams.

The Stopping Online Booking Scams Act, which drew more than 40 co-sponsors to the Senate in the last Congress before it was blocked, would make it illegal for scammers to trick customers into thinking they are paying for hotel services when ‘They are not.

The bill, introduced Wednesday, would require unaffiliated third-party booking websites to disclose that they are not affiliated with the hotel before charging guests a fee. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general would have the authority to take action against third-party online hotel reservation vendors who are not forthright with customers.

In recent years, consumers have reported an increase in online hotel booking scams because third-party websites do not properly disclose to consumers that they are not directly affiliated with hotels.

Representatives. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelFlorida Democrats call on DeSantis to accept federal aid to expand COVID-19 testing Last living Nuremberg Trials prosecutor deserves Congressional Gold Medal Democrats repeal ban on funding abortions in abroad MORE (D-Fla.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) are introduced to a version in the House while senators led by Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBiden calls on Senate to pass its drug price cut agenda Sanders calls on Democrats to bring drug price bill to Senate Biden to meet with Senate Judiciary Democrats on Supreme Court vacancy MORE (D-Minn.) and Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesStock trading ban gains momentum but divides Senate GOP Amazon launches nationwide telehealth service Vaccination mandate for health workers begins to take effect MORE (R-Mont.) tabled it in the Senate.

Travel bookings made through fraudulent websites can be costly and stressful for travelers,” Klobuchar, the 2020 presidential candidate, said in a statement. “As more and more people turn to online booking sites to plan their trip, our legislation will help crack down on bad actors and protect consumers.”

The legislation would make it illegal for any third-party online hotel reservation seller to charge a consumer if the website “implies that it is or is affiliated with the person who owns the hotel or provides the hotel services or accommodation” .

In a statement, Daines pointed to Montana’s tourism industry as a “great source of our economy.”

“It is important that visitors and travelers to our state are not ripped off and have the assurance that the hotel room they have reserved will be there when they arrive,” he said in a statement.

For years, hoteliers have lobbied Congress to take action against scams, which have resulted in unnecessary fees and bogus confirmations of reservations that were never made.