Duval joins in suing online travel agencies

Published August 13, 2006

JACKSONVILLE - Duval County is suing several online travel companies, alleging the companies failed to pay taxes on hotel rooms they sold.

Duval County filed the lawsuit seeking class-action status in Duval County Circuit Court against the companies including Hotwire, Travelocity, and Orbitz, the Florida Times-Union reported for its Sunday edition.

The county claims the companies paid taxes on wholesale room rates instead of the higher retail rates consumers are required to pay. The county said 39 Florida counties were affected, but does not specify the counties.

A call placed Saturday night to the law office handling the suit was not immediately returned.

Last week, Leon County filed a lawsuit against 11 online travel companies saying the companies failed to pay Florida counties more than $5-million in hotel room taxes.

The majority of the companies being sued are members of the Interactive Travel Services Association, an industry trade association.