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FTC Looks at Taking on “Resort Fees” in New Rule

Perfect beach swimming pool with tropical resort relax.

Resort fees could be a thing of the past in 2023, as the Federal Trade Commission looks to put an end to several “Junk Fee” practices.
A new proposed rule from the Federal Trade Commission could bring the practice of hotels charging resort fees to an end, as part of a sweeping change in adding junk fees to consumer transactions.

 

Published in the Federal Register, the FTC is soliciting public comments on a new proposed rule addressing unfair or deceptive fees.

 

Junk Fee Rule to Address “Unfair or Deceptive Fees” Added to Purchases

The new proposed rule comes after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) requested public comment on “fees levied on consumer financial products or services.” This ultimately led to the FTC looking into the “junk fees” on a broader level, which affect travelers on a daily basis.

 

Resort fees originated in the United States, dating back to 1997. First found at popular resort destinations, the trend has expanded to everything from full-service properties around the world to two-star hotels in America. Hotels usually justify the additional fee beyond the daily rate as a way to pay for access to pools, free in-room internet and other amenities.

 

“Junk fees impose substantial economic harms on consumers and impede the dissemination of important market information,” the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking document reads. “A Commission analysis of hotel ‘resort fees’ that were mandatory and undisclosed in the posted room rates concluded such fees ‘artificially increas[e] the search costs and the cognitive costs’ for consumers carrying out the transaction…These fee practices can be found throughout the economy but appear to be particularly widespread in markets for travel such as hotels, room-sharing, car rentals, and cruises.”

 

As a result, the FTC is asking for public input on a proposed rule to address resort fees and other “junk fees” imposed upon the customers. In particular, the rule would make it “an unfair or deceptive act or practice and unfair method of competition to advertise or solicit the sale of a product or service without prominently disclosing the entire price to be paid by the customer inclusive of all unavoidable fees and service charges (excluding government taxes).” Comments will be accepted through January 9, 2023 and can be shared on Regulations.gov under docket FTC-2022-0069.

 

Proposed Rule Marks Second Time Government Asked Flyers for Advice This Year

The new proposed rulemaking marks the second time in 2022 where flyers were asked for advice on future policies. In August 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration asked for comments on proposed airline safety measures in order to potentially create a minimum seat dimension for airlines.

 

Share your experiences with resort fees (and how to get out of them) on the FlyerTalk forums

13 Comments
M
mball November 24, 2022

Honestly, we should do this for everything, all the way through Sales Tax on normal items, fees on event tickets. Show me a higher advertised price.

I know why that's logistically hard in the US with sales tax - but still a world without billing surprises would be nicer.

A
AS MHT November 20, 2022

Seeing it in restaurants now. A dish is advertised at a certain price, but then an "inflation" fee is added to your check. 

G
GoProf November 16, 2022

These fees are a total ripoff and should end. 

A
abctx November 16, 2022

Earlier this year, I was charged some type of fee by a Marriott property and successfully argued to have the hotel waive it.  It was essentially a restaurant subsidy!  I was charged a $20 fee and received a $20 restaurant voucher/credit.  A subsidy, a way to artificially create demand for the on-sight restaurant property.  

I also get sick of paying a "resort fee" for amenities that I do not use (bike access) or are already included in my status membership (internet).  

Hope something will change or these fees will be prohibited without true transparency.

T
TravelinWilly November 14, 2022

They aren't just "resorts" - look at any hotel in San Francisco, they're all doing the same thing.