Bill Shock: FTC Warns Hotels of Deceptive Surcharges, Mystery 'Resort Fees'

The Federal Trade Commission says some hotels may violate federal law when under-quoting estimates on their reservation websites.
The agency has warned 22 hotel operators about avoiding “drip pricing,” a ploy of promoting only partial prices that leave out add-on fees. Those fees are first revealed to customers when the get the final bill.
According to the FTC warning letters:
“One common complaint consumers raised involved mandatory fees hotels charge for amenities such as newspapers, use of onsite exercise or pool facilities, or internet access, sometimes referred to as ‘resort fees.’  These mandatory fees can be as high as $30 per night, a sum that could certainly affect consumer purchasing decisions.”
The warning letters also say that consumers often do not know they would be required to pay resort fees in addition to the quoted hotel rate.
“Consumers are entitled to know in advance the total cost of their hotel stays,” said Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz.  “So-called ‘drip pricing’ charges, sometimes portrayed as ‘convenience’ or ‘service’ fees, are anything but convenient, and businesses that hide them are doing a huge disservice to American consumers.”
The letters strongly encourage the companies to review their websites and ensure that their ads do not misrepresent the total price consumers can expect to pay.

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