Are  online travel agencies quoting higher prices because of your personal information? It’s been difficult to prove that Web “cookies” were being used in that way. Until now, maybe.

Matt Ilardo stumbled across some interesting proof when he tried to book a rental car through Hotwire.

Here’s the rate quote from his work computer: $88 for a three-day rental in New York.

Later that night, Ilardo did the same search at a different computer. It quoted him a rate of $117.

I know what you’re thinking: Rates can change by the minute, and he just missed an opportunity. That’s what he thought, too. But before he booked …

I decided to check the price on the previous computer. I refreshed the search, and found the exact same, and cheaper, first price.

I performed this test several times, and if I logged on after I got the cheaper price, I would find the cheaper price. If I cleared the cookies on the computer and re-did the search, I would get the cheaper price. And every time I was logged on and did the search under my name, I would get the more expensive price.

Continue reading on elliott.org

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  • Elliott

    Christopher Elliott has been called one of the world’s leading travel experts. But his focus isn’t on the destination, or ev…

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