FTC Finds Possible Law Breaches by Eatery Review Sites

Economy Politics

Tokyo, March 18 (Jiji Press)--Some Japanese eateries using services of restaurant review websites have had the terms of their contracts unilaterally changed by the site operators, a survey report from the Fair Trade Commission showed on Wednesday.

Such acts by the website operators could amount to abuse of a dominant bargaining position in violation of the antimonopoly law. The antitrust watchdog plans to call on the operators to voluntarily put improvement steps into place, while taking strict action against clear cases of law violations.

The FTC launched the survey on the matter last April, covering 17 review sites and some 500 eateries using their services.

Noting that such site operators are likely to be in advantageous positions as eateries often depend on the review websites to attract customers, the report listed potential antimonopoly law violation cases collected from eateries and presented steps for improvements.

According to the report, eateries also complained of such dubious practices as operators demanding higher discount rates than for other review websites and more seats set aside for reservations.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press