Legal & Tourism — Di Fan

While tourism is being the number one service industry in the country, there are also some disputes between consumers and travel services.

The Untied Sates Travel law occurred in the 1970s, describing the nexus of federal, state, common law and international law that regulate the day-to-day working of the travel industry. When the federally- mandated deregulation process was finished, tourism found out that it still need a central source of legal guidance where it could turn for the travel issues and the field of travel law was born.

Nowadays tourism could not separate with Internet and technology. They bring too much energy for developing tourism in the country. But also gives the new problems to people. In 2012, there are many lawsuits is about travel legal issues.

Hotel & Travel Website

Last year, The Los Angeles Times reported the biggest case of travel legal issue, there were two men, Nakita Turik from Chicago and Eric Balk from Iowa, they suited the travel websites, hotels involved in price fixing. The complaint alleged that Hilton Hotels, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International and others conspired with Expedia, Travelocity and a subsidiary of Priceline, among others, to fix hotel prices across the country.

The consumer fraud lawsuit claimed that the large online travel sites work with hotel chains, and they have created the illusion that spending time for researching hotel rates online could find good deals. Although many travel websites announced that they passed the lowest hotel rates of unsold rooms to consumers. The suit alleged that the hotels set a minimum room rate so that the travel websites could offer to consumers. Therefore, he reality is that these illegal price-parity agreements mean consumers see nothing but cosmetic differences and the same prices on every site.

There are more than 50% travel website and hotel companies have an agreement to work together in the country. The suite except asked the court to order the hotels and travel sites to pay damages and legal fees, also demanded to impose an injunction, preventing the hotels and websites from further price fixing.

Online Reviews

Online consumer reviews are emerging as a powerful source of information affecting the pre-purchase evaluation of consumers. Online review is a big topic of travel issue area. It is not just about the business also it is the result from free speech on the Internet. Online reviews are protected, however there are so many cases of defamation to show.

In October 2011, the owner of the Grand Resort Hotel & Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. sued the review site for defamation and false light invasion of privacy after the site announced that the Grand Resort topped its then-annual list of the dirtiest hotels in America — “a ranking based on users’ online reviews and comments. has millions of online users, even though consumers should be able to freely discuss their experiences without fear that somebody is going to come knocking on the door with a lawsuit. But the social media website also should response that if it is a defamation. As the law of libel tourism required the speech must be not be libelous under American law.

GPS & Google Maps

GPS and Google Maps are very useful for tourists, but one thing becomes quite clear when looking over this list: Blindly following online navigation devices can easily result in disaster.

There are many examples to show that many tourists are a tad too reliant on the maps to guide. Blindly following electronic directions into water, or going the wrong way. On March 2012 there are 9 car accidents caused by Google maps and GPS. In the same year, a woman who filed more than $100,000 lawsuit against Google Maps since the map brought her to a car accident. She claiming Google’s “reckless and negligent providing of unsafe directions” caused her to suffer “severe permanent physical, emotional, and mental injuries.”

It’s important to know that do not trust in GPS devices and Google Maps too much. Maps and sat navigation devices are really great, but they’re also potentially dangerous.


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