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FTC Crackdown On "Resort Fees"

By mbstone,

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The Federal Trade Commission has warned 22 hotel chains against charging so-called "resort fees" without telling prospective customers up front:

FTC staff has reviewed a number of online hotel reservation sites, and has confirmed that some hotels exclude resort fees from the quoted reservation price. Instead, the “total price” or “estimated price” quoted to consumers includes only the room rate and applicable taxes. At some of these sites, the applicable resort fee is listed nearby, but separate from, the quoted price. In others, the quoted price is accompanied by an asterisk that leads consumers to another location at the site – sometimes on the same page, sometimes not – where the applicable resort fee is disclosed, typically in fine print. A few sites fail to identify applicable resort fees anywhere, and instead inform consumers that other undefined fees may apply.

These practices may violate the law by misrepresenting the price consumers can expect to pay for their hotel rooms. We believe that online hotel reservation sites should include in the quoted total price any unavoidable and mandatory fees, such as resort fees, that consumers will be charged to stay at the hotel.

Neither the CNN article nor the FTC press release identifies the "22 hotel chains" or states whether FTC will be writing to Priceline or Hotwire.

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It will be interesting to see if this results in any significant reform. Some of these cockamamie 'resort fees' are getting totally out of hand, approaching $20 or $25 per night at some Orlando hotels for example. It has forced me to limit my Priceline bidding to those zones where (so far as I can tell) there is a minimum of resort fee-charging hotels.

It's one thing if you really are a resort-category accommodation, which in Orlando would be places like the Grand Cypress, Omni Resort at ChampionsGate and the like. But come on: Econo-Lodge is a 'resort'?? The fees have trickled down to accommodations that obviously have very few, if not zero resort offerings. I would very much like to see this practice stopped. Then again, I'm still amazed that the airlines got away with their nonsensical 'baggage fees', so I am not optimistic. :rolleyes:

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