Booking.com website will display a total and final price, including VAT, for Israeli consumers who purchase accommodation services in Israel
Following a legal proceeding conducted by the Israel Consumer Protection and Fair Trade Authority, Booking.com website will display a total and final price, including VAT, for Israeli consumers who purchase accommodation services in Israel.
This was achieved following a dialogue between the Israel Consumer Protection and Fair Trade Authority (FTA) and Booking.com, in order ensure compliance with Israel's Consumer Protection Law, 5741-1981 (CPL). This dialogue took place after the FTA imposed a monetary sanction of 2,560,800 NIS on Booking.com which is currently under appeal.
Booking.com BV is a Dutch company (Booking Global) that operates an internet platform for marketing and selling accommodation services worldwide through a website and mobile application it owns and operates (the platform).
The platform, which is accessible in Israel, and in Hebrew as well, displayed prices for accommodation services in Israel, without indicating the VAT component, thereby displaying prices that were not the total price, thus violating section 14C(a) and 17D of CPL. It should be noted that in Israel, tourists are exempt from paying VAT on tourist services.
Excluding the VAT from displayed price misleads the consumer regarding the price of accommodation services. This practice misleads the consumer while browsing and comparing prices on different sites, prior to finalizing the purchase. Moreover, the consumer discovers the full price of the transaction only upon reception of service.
Within the framework of legal proceedings that the FTA is conducting against the company, in September 2022 the FTA imposed a monetary sanction of 2,560,800 NIS on Booking Global. This sanction was imposed due to violation of the obligation to include the VAT in the total price. Booking appealed this monetary sanction.
A dialogue between the FTA and Booking Global took place to ensure compliance with the CPL. The parties discussed necessary actions in order to satisfy the FTA, and to avoid future enforcement regarding the VAT issue. The FTA emphasized, unequivocally, that the company must display the total and final price, including the 17% VAT rate for Israeli consumers purchasing accommodation services. As of July 1st, 2023, Booking.com displays the price of accommodation services in Israel including the VAT component, for any browsers using the website from an IP address identified within Israel.