US Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) last week called for action from the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on his bipartisan proposal to combat online booking fraud.
On July 23, Senator Daines sponsored the Stop Online Booking Scams Act of 2019, S. 2229, with original co-sponsor U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to protect U.S. consumers from deceptive practices by matter of online booking of hotel reservations.
Since its introduction, S. 2229 has been reviewed by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
The senses. Daines and Klobuchar sent a letter Oct. 31 to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), chairman of the committee, urging him to take action and include their bill in the committee’s next executive session.
“With the increase in online reservations, there has been an increase in online reservation scams,” wrote Senator Daines and his colleague. “Fraudulent websites give the appearance of being connected to a hotel, but actually have no relationship to them. Transactions through these sites often lead consumers to pay for reservations that do not exist or differ of the inventory available in the hotels.
The lawmakers wrote that S. 2229 “is a balanced, narrow, and necessary solution that protects both consumers and legitimate online hotel reservation sites from online reservation scams,” according to their letter.
If passed, the bill would make it illegal for a third-party online hotel reservation seller that is not affiliated with the hotel to advertise, promote, or sell a reservation if the person states or imply that she is the true owner or operator of the hotel, according to their letter, and would give state attorneys general the power to bring civil action against companies that violate this provision, among others.
The identical bill, HR 3956, was introduced in July by U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) and co-sponsored by U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). It remains under review by the US House Energy and Commerce Committee.