French hoteliers involved in a long-running legal drama over alleged "unfair commercial practices" by TripAdvisor and Expedia have secured the support of the French government.
Synhorcat, a union of French hoteliers, is taking legal action against user review giant TripAdvisor and parent company Expedia over what it calls "unfair commercial practices".
The group filed a lawsuit at the Commercial Court in Paris in April 2010 with a raft of claims against the two companies and sister site Hotels.com.
Twelve months on and the next round of hearings is due to be heard on July 6 2011.
But the case has now potentially achieved far greater profile and importance after the French government's Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF) announced it would be joining the proceedings.
According to reportsin France, government intervention is an unprecedented move and illustrates the deterioration of the relationship between some hoteliers and TripAdvisor-Expedia.
Secretary of state for tourism Frédéric Lefebvre launched an investigation in February 2011 into wider areas of concern around hotel rates and availability through third party websites.
Lefebvre is said to have decided to join the Synhorcat action after reviewing the initial findings from the investigation.
A TripAdvisor official says the company is "unable to comment on any pending or threatened litigation issues".