Japanese hoteliers have announced plans to file a class-action lawsuit against Booking.com, an online travel agency (OTA), as reported by TheJapanTimes.

According to the hotel owners, in recent months Booking.com has delayed the timely transfer of customer payments to the hotels, resulting in unpaid hotel bills spanning months.

The OTA has been facing reports of payment failures across Europe and Asia.

Hirotaro Kato, the attorney leading the class-action lawsuit, revealed that 40 people have sought his counsel regarding Booking.com’s payment issues.

Among them, three have chosen to participate in the lawsuit and Kato intends to initiate the legal action this week.

Masahiko Matsuo, the head of Kazaya Group, which manages multiple hotels in central Japan, is one of the potential plaintiffs. He stated that his hotels have encountered payment delays since June.

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Matsuo told the news agency: “They didn’t end up paying for our July revenue until the very end of August. I have still yet to receive payment for our September revenue, yet they continue to charge us commission fees for using the platform.

“There was also a time when I had to ask some of my workers to wait a couple of days for their paycheck since we couldn’t get the money. Thankfully, my employees were okay with it but I have heard that this has led to people quitting at other hotels.”

He further informed that he received an email from Booking.com. The email stated that due to system maintenance, the earnings from the end of June and the entire month of July would not be transferred until August.

Currently, Booking.com has an outstanding debt of approximately Y6m ($40,110) to Matsuo’s company.

Additionally, Booking.com posted a statement on its website extending an apology for the challenges faced by some of its partners due to “payment system updates”.