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Hotel Guests Take on L.A. Area Marriotts Over Surcharges

A group of Marriott guests who stayed in the Los Angeles area are taking the hotelier to court, claiming a charged “hotel work protection ordinance cost surcharge” is little more than another so-called “junk fee.”
If you’ve recently stayed at a Marriott hotel in the Los Angeles area, you may have been charged a “hotel work protection ordinance cost” on your final bill. A group of guests say it’s nothing more than an alleged “junk fee.”

 

The Wall Street Journal reports a group of guests are taking Marriott International to court over the surcharge, claiming that adding the fee is against California consumer protection laws.

 

Consumers Allege Marriott Hotels Earn $3.6 Million from Surcharge

The surcharge comes from a law passed by the Los Angeles City Council in 2022, which mandates certain protections for hotel workers. Among them are higher wages for workers at hotels with 45 rooms or more who clean beyond a certain amount of the hotel.

 

In turn, the plaintiffs allege L.A.-area Marriott Hotels are charging between $10 and $14 per night as a “hotel work protection ordinance cost” fee, specifically around Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The group claims that Marriott could make as much as $3.6 million annually on the fee, which does not necessarily go towards the workers it claims to protect.

 

“The cost for Marriott to comply with the ordinance at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott is far less than $3,600,000 annually,” the group argues in the lawsuit. “Instead, the HWPO Fee is nothing more than a ‘junk fee’ that directly benefits Marriott at the expense of guests at Marriott’s hotels.”

 

The lawsuit argues that the fees give the Marriott hotels an unfair advantage over the competition by advertising lower prices, while charging more at checkout. The hotel company denies the allegations, saying that all fees are presented upfront at time of booking. It is unclear how much in damages the lawsuit is seeking.

 

The court case is still open, and no decision has been made for either party.

 

Case Comes as “Junk Fees” Under Scrutiny

The lawsuit comes as federal regulators are looking into so-called “junk fees” at hotels and other hospitality businesses. In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission announced a new potential rule which would address “unfair or deceptive fees.”

 

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15 Comments
J
JackE June 26, 2023

Marriott's website lets you click one checkbox to see all rates after taxes and fees.  End of story.

M
MEaton June 22, 2023

The Federal Trade Commission should work with Congress to outlaw rogue municipalities from inventing these exorbitant fees that require Vendors (Hotels, Limousines, Taxis, Airport venues including Parking, Rental Car Agencies, Restaurants, etc.) to add charges or fees for which the Traveler gets NO ADDED BENEFIT. Don't they already pay huge Federal, State and Local Income taxes as well as Property taxes...  All of which are tied to what they already charge...

D
DeltaFlyer123 June 22, 2023

We just came back from a vacation trip where we stayed at multiple hotels, and in every case, the charges matched exactly what was quoted when we made the reservations. Maybe we visited an area where hotelkeepers are more honest, I don't know. But in any event, it's a good idea to take along a printed copy of the reservation confirmation that includes the price. I say "printed" because checking it online will reflect the current price, not what was quoted earlier when the reservation was made. 

R
rylan June 22, 2023

Glad to see them going after Marriott and really hope they win.  Hotels and especially Marriott is getting away with far too much for these garbage fees!

D
danola June 22, 2023

Does this mean we don't have to tip the bellmen, waitresses, maids and parking attendants ? Very nearsighted junk fee.