Pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended, (15 U.S.C.
Section 41, et seq.) and by virtue of the authority vested in it by said Act, the Federal
Trade Commission, having reason to believe that South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association
(hereinafter "respondent") has violated the provisions of Section 5 of the
Federal Trade Commission Act, and it appearing to the Commission that a proceeding by it
in respect thereof would be in the public interest, hereby issues this complaint stating
its charges as follows:
PARAGRAPH ONE: Respondent South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association is a corporation
organized, existing and doing business under and by virtue of the laws of the State of
California, with its principal place of business located at P.O. Box 5746, South Lake
Tahoe, California 96157.
PARAGRAPH TWO: Respondent is a trade association representing the interests of motel
and hotel operators and other operators of lodging properties in the South Lake Tahoe
area. For purposes of this Complaint, the South Lake Tahoe area comprises those portions
of El Dorado County, California, and Douglas County, Nevada, lying within the Lake Tahoe
basin. Respondents members are generally engaged in the offering of short-term
lodging in the South Lake Tahoe area. Respondent has approximately 63 members, who,
together with certain of respondents associate members, constitute approximately 70
percent of the available lodging units in the South Lake Tahoe area. Except to the extent
that competition has been restrained as alleged herein, respondents members have
been and are now in competition among themselves and with other motels, hotels, and
PARAGRAPH THREE: Respondent is organized for the purpose of guarding and fostering the
interests of its members. Respondent engages in activities that further its members
pecuniary interests. By virtue of its purposes and activities, respondent is a corporation
within the meaning of Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 44.
PARAGRAPH FOUR: Respondents acts and practices, including the acts and practices
alleged herein, are in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in the
Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 44.
PARAGRAPH FIVE: Respondent has been and is acting in agreement, combination or
conspiracy with its members, or in agreement, combination or conspiracy with some of its
members, to restrain trade in the offering of lodging in the South Lake Tahoe area by
eliminating the posting of signs advertising the prices at which its individual members
offer such lodging.
PARAGRAPH SIX: The purposes or effects of the agreement, combination or conspiracy and
respondents acts or practices as described in Paragraph Five are and have been to
restrain competition unreasonably and to deprive consumers of the benefits of competition
in one or more of the following ways, among others:
- (a) by foreclosing, reducing and restraining competition among providers of lodging in
the South Lake Tahoe area;
- (b) by depriving consumers of truthful information concerning the prices of lodging in
the South Lake Tahoe area; and
- (c) by depriving consumers of the benefits of competition among providers of lodging in
the South Lake Tahoe area.
PARAGRAPH SEVEN: The aforesaid acts and practices constitute unfair methods of
competition in or affecting commerce in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade
Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45. These acts and practices are continuing and will continue
in the absence of the relief requested.
IN WITNESS THEREOF, the Federal Trade Commission on this seventh day of October 1998,
issues its complaint against said respondent.
By the Commission.
Donald S. Clark