North Myrtle Beach to consider joining lawsuit against online tr - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

North Myrtle Beach to consider joining lawsuit against online travel companies

Source: nmb.us Source: nmb.us

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The City of North Myrtle Beach is considering joining a lawsuit against online travel companies for allegedly charging customers taxes on a marked up hotel room price, and then paying the city taxes on the discounted rate they get.

Online travel companies that have entered into contracts with local hotels and motels are able to buy rooms at a negotiated discounted room rate, according to documentation on the city’s resolution to initiate litigation. These companies then sell these rooms to online customers at higher prices.

The pending lawsuit alleges that these companies charge their customers the accommodations taxes and hospitality fees on the marked-up room prices, but only remit taxes to the city based on the lower, negotiated room rates, keeping the difference for themselves.

On July 6, the North Myrtle Beach City Council will consider joining Columbia, Charleston, North Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and the Town of Hilton Head in a lawsuit against these companies to recover these unpaid fees.

Click here to view a PDF file of the city's resolution for more details on the lawsuit

The lawsuit, City of Charleston, South Carolina, et al. v. Hotelguides.com, et al., was filed back in January of 2014, and names Cheaptickets.com, Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Lodging.com, Orbitz.com, Priceline.com, and Travelocity.com among the defendants, according to court documents.

A lawsuit previously filed by North Myrtle Beach against online travel companies was successfully resolved, with a settlement payment of $192,600 paid to the city, officials stated in the resolution. A similar suit filed by the S.C. Department of Revenue against the company Travelscape was also successful, with the South Carolina Supreme Court ruling in favor of the SCDOR.

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