Last month, The Gate reported that the Le Parker Méridien hotel in New York had announced that it will implement a mandatory daily facilities charge of ten dollars per day effective as of January 1, 2013 — and FlyerTalk members expressed disappointment and outrage, calling the policy “sleazy” and “garbage.”
Within a week, The Gate reported that creative accounting practices allegedly implemented by the owner of the Le Parker Méridien New York hotel property had supposedly led to a lawsuit filed at a federal court in Manhattan by Starwood Hotels and Resorts seeking a court order to cancel licensing agreements to operate the hotel properties under the Le Méridien brand as well as wanting unspecified damages. Starwood Hotels and Resorts claimed that greater than one million dollars was reimbursed to the hotel as a result of fraudulent practices, which includes falsified records.
While the two stories involving the Le Parker Méridien New York hotel property may be unrelated to each other, they may be enough to warrant a perception that the management of the hotel property may be engaged in activities which are questionable at best — certainly not the ideal way to build a relationship where their customers and guests trust how they do business.
Then again, many FlyerTalk members question the practice of charging resort fees on products and services that guests probably will not use anyway, using terms such as “unethical” and “scam” to describe the implementation of resort fees. The Federal Trade Commission of the United States apparently agrees in principle by taking action against the policy by certain hotel properties of charging undisclosed resort fees to their guests.
I had recommended that you do the following to help end this deceptive and sneaky practice of hotel properties charging undisclosed mandatory fees:
- Boycott hotel properties which impose undisclosed mandatory fees to its guests. Hit them where it hurts — in terms of reduced revenue. Vote with your feet and choose an alternate hotel property, if available.
- Alert the Federal Trade Commission of the United States of this practice by filing a complaint when reporting hotel properties such as the Le Parker Méridien in New York.
- Spread the word about these rogue hotel properties and their unfair policies to family, friends and colleagues. Encourage them to join you in the boycott, file complaints to the Federal Trade Commission of the United States, and spread the word to their families, friends and colleagues.
After reportedly being charged a resort fee — which was not disclosed at the time of when the reservation was booked and the room would not be available until it was paid — at a hotel property in Las Vegas which was greater than 50 percent of the actual room rate, FlyerTalk member CarpeDiem went one step further by encouraging fellow FlyerTalk members to sign a petition at the official Internet web site of the White House of the United States which reads as follows:
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Hotel’s mandatory ‘resort fees’ to be prohibited by FTC (Federal Trade Commission) unless added to quoted room rate.
No other American industry is allowed to quote a low price, then refuse to provide the service you paid for unless you pay a ‘surcharge’, which can be over 50% of the price of the room.
The hotel industry does this with ‘resort fees’ (sometimes even when they have no ‘resort’ amenities).
To his credit FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz sent hotels a warning letter in November about ‘resort fees’.
But let’s make it clear to our government if a charge is MANDATORY than it must be disclosed when quoting prices. Hotels still could charge ‘resort fees’, which they disclose at check-in are optional – and if they offer enough services for a reasonable optional fee there will be takers.
But NO MORE MANDATORY resort fees unless they are disclosed by all hotels & re-sellers in the nightly room rate!
While it is a long shot that the petition will have a positive and significant impact, 100,000 signatures are needed by February 27, 2013 in order for this petition to be considered.
Please consider joining the movement and sign the petition today. It only takes minutes of your time, requires only that you sign up for an account with the official Internet web site of the White House, and you will purportedly not receive “spam” as a result of signing up — and you could make a difference in the way resort fees are imposed by hotel properties upon guests.
Every little bit helps.