FTC probing hotel chains on suspicion of price-fixing

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FTC probing hotel chains on suspicion of price-fixing

Korea’s antitrust watchdog has launched an investigation into suspicions that seven major hotel operators have been colluding in setting room charges for their customers, industry sources said yesterday.

Those being probed by the Fair Trade Commission include the Lotte, Shilla, Sheraton Grande Walker Hill, Plaza and Westin Chosun hotels. They are mostly operated by the country’s large conglomerates, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

Foreign hotel chains, meanwhile, were not included in the latest probe, raising some eyebrows that the probe is only targeting domestic hotel operators.

The FTC recently sent its officials to the respective top-ranking hotels in Seoul to secure documents and data related to their room charge polices, according to the sources.

The probe was launched following suspicions that large hotels may have rigged room charges to avoid competition and secure stable income.

An FTC spokesman did not confirm or deny whether the probe was under way.

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