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Travelers United Takes on MGM Over Resort Fees

After seeing a rise in resort fees and reduction of benefits, Travelers United is taking MGM Resorts International to court over their billing practices. The advocacy group claims fees which are not advertised as part of a room price violate the Consumer Protection Procedures Act.

Travel advocacy group Travelers United says MGM Resorts International practice of adding “resort fees” at check-in is illegal, and will take the hospitality giant to court over it. In a press release, the group announced their lawsuit, alleging collecting fees is in violation of the Consumer Protection Procedures Act in Washington, D.C.

Travelers United Says Federal Trade Commission Inaction Led to Lawsuits

According to Travelers United, the practice of adding an additional “resort fee” creates a false advertising situation for consumers. While guests think they are getting one price, the advocates claim the add-on fees on top of advertised rates and taxes – which they say can reach up to $45 per night – creates a serious problem.

“For the last decade, MGM has used an unlawful trade practice called ‘drip pricing’ in advertising its hotel rooms whereby MGM initially hides a portion of the hotel room’s daily rate from consumers,” the lawsuit filed in the District of Columbia reads. “MGM calls this hidden portion of the room rate a ‘resort fee’ at all of its properties in the United States including at the MGM National Harbor which is extremely popular with district residents…MGM has reaped hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade from this deceptive ‘drip pricing.’”

The group claims the fees caused by “drip pricing” have nothing to do with the hotel amenities, including operating pools and health clubs on site. Because MGM resorts elected to close their amenities during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Travelers United says the company disproved the need for an additional “resort fee.”

Furthermore, the group says the inaction of the Federal Trade Commission has forced them to choose to take their actions to court. Although Travelers United says they have worked closely with the FTC in the past, they claim “…the FTC has not acted and they have failed the American consumers with their inaction on this false advertising.”

MGM Resorts International has not released a statement on the allegations in the lawsuit, nor have they filed a response. The claims remain before the court, and a judge has yet to rule on the suit.

Lawsuit Mirrors Others Against Marriott and Hilton

The group says the lawsuits are similar to others against hotel companies. In July 2019, the Attorney General of Washington, D.C. sued Marriott International over resort fees. Days later, the Nebraska attorney general filed a lawsuit against Hilton over “deceptive resort fees and misleading Nebraska consumers.”

Feature image courtesy: MGM Resorts International

SUPERTRAVEL April 10, 2021

Some hotels in Canada are now adding on an Amenity Fee. So the practice is spreading, not just within the USA.

pulokk1 March 30, 2021

As long as it is clearly disclosed it's stinky but transparent. We stayed in Vegas and the $50 nightly resort fee was disclosed nowhere when I booked on-line. I challenged it at checkout, where I first learned of it, even showing them my e-mailed confirmation where it was not mentioned. The check-out CSR would not budge. I asked to speak with the front-end manager who also would not budge. I took it to corporate on the phone and they refunded it. My next step would have been to challenge it on my credit card. Long story short, I would have lived with it had they disclose it at booking.

Bighits March 28, 2021

I think they can separate the fees out so that is you want to use their wifi it's one fee and then if you use the pool, or exercise room, or spa, etc.it should be broken down per area of use and those that decide not to use any of those so called perks then you shouldn't be charged any resort fees at all. This is no different than just listing them on like a menu and then you check which ones you want to access and pay for that in your room charges. That way you always have the option to use them or you can completely opt out or just choose for example, the pool only, and I think people wouldn't be so upset about the extra charges.

htb March 19, 2021

That really seems to be something typical only to the US. Betty similar to rental car companies that quote one price, but then remember that they forgot to include almost every cost to do business imaginable, like the cost for the facility or the cost to register the cars they rent out.

rjpjr March 18, 2021

How many times is this lawsuit going to be filed and shot down? The hotels tell you exactly what they justify as "resort fees" so they aren't hidden (except to the blind or those who buy crap on HotWire) - same as checked bag fees with the airliones. If you don't like the fee, look for another hotel. Good luck finding one in, say, Las Vegas. But at least some of them are now waiving resort fees if you don't use the pool or the internet. Who needs the latter anyway. Tether to your phone if you don't have built in wireless on your iPad.