Is the FTC doing enough to stop those mysterious hotel ‘resort fees’?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by NYCUA1K, Jul 12, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The Fourth of July fireworks came a little early this year for participants in the Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection meeting at the Department of Transportation headquarters.

    For several tension-filled minutes, two Federal Trade Commission lawyers stood before the committee last month, insisting their agency had done all it could to stop hotels from deceiving the traveling public about resort fees.

    Not so, replied several consumer advocates and one member of the committee. In fact, the FTC has failed to protect consumers from what is perhaps the most dishonest fee in the travel industry. (You can watch the entire heated exchange at the 1:48 mark of the morning-meeting video on the committee’s Web site.)

    A peek behind the curtains in the resort-fee drama suggests neither side is entirely correct. The government is, indeed, concerned about resort fees, which are mandatory surcharges added to your hotel bill for everything from use of the hotel gym to pool towels. These extras are usually disclosed after an initial price quote but before you pay for your room. Critics say the sleight-of-hand makes it difficult for travelers to effectively comparison shop and pressures hotels to pile on even more hidden fees, in an effort to appear to be the best deal online.

    Federal watchdogs have taken small steps to deal with these controversial charges. But have they done enough?

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  2. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    It's weapons-grade balonium to me that they say they can't stop it. On the other hand I can see it from the perspective of the DOT and the Airlines that it's very difficult for the airlines to properly disclose the fees when they are selling package deals, especially with how often these things get changed, and they are sort of limited to passing on the information they are given.

    This is no different from the resorts (particularly condos for rent - not necessarily timeshares but places like Outrigger that offer timeshares, sales, and hotel-like stays) that charge a given fee for the room "plus $150 mandatory cleaning fee." VRBO and AirBnB do something similar but it's all disclosed on the main page. Since when has cleaning not been included in a hotel stay? What is to stop Hilton or even Motel 6 from charging $150 for a room and then $50 for cleaning? Unfortunately the DOT has limited involvement in this since hotels aren't transportation, but the FTC saying "meh" is ridiculous.

    I couldn't be happier since they have changed to full disclosure of taxes and fees on airline tickets. It's so much easier to shop, IMO.
    Charlie6 likes this.

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