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Washington DC Attorney General sues Marriott over "deceptive resort fees"

Washington DC Attorney General sues Marriott over "deceptive resort fees"

Old Jul 9, 2019, 1:55 pm
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Washington DC Attorney General sues Marriott over "deceptive resort fees"

It's about time. Any mandatory non-government hotel charges should be included in the room rate.
District of Columbia AG sues Marriott
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 2:20 pm
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Originally Posted by ehallison
It's about time. Any mandatory non-government hotel charges should be included in the room rate.
District of Columbia AG sues Marriott
Wow!

Hopefully this will result in a change on how hotels handle this.

I remember when you wouldn't see all the airfare at the beginning of the process.

Of course, the places where this is the worst -- NY, Nevada, and Hawaii -- won't have their AG's join in because they are too tied into the hotel lobby.

Then again, as at head of the NY Hotel Association says -- guests like these charges!
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 2:23 pm
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It's about time. And Karl reaffirms his place as my favorite AG.
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 2:33 pm
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That's great.
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 2:39 pm
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR
Wow!

Hopefully this will result in a change on how hotels handle this.

I remember when you wouldn't see all the airfare at the beginning of the process.

Of course, the places where this is the worst -- NY, Nevada, and Hawaii -- won't have their AG's join in because they are too tied into the hotel lobby.

Then again, as at head of the NY Hotel Association says -- guests like these charges!
Reading the complaint, the jurisdiction and requested relief is centered not around hotels in DC, but on behalf of DC consumers. So if successful, injunction against resort fees not disclosed on the initial search page could apply worldwide.

One note of interest, the filing states that currently franchised hotels can set whatever room rates they want without Marriott approval, but that resort fees specifically must be approved by Marriott.
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 2:41 pm
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While Marriott is not fully transparent in disclosing these fees on its website and does at times disguise them as local taxes, the decision to charge destination/resort fees is not Marriotts, but rather made by each property individually (although with Marriotts permission). In fact, Marriott loses when these fees are charged separately and not bundled into the room rate, as booking commissions are based on the room rate only.
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 2:41 pm
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Bravo.

I have no issues with optional fees that are clearly disclosed. Mandatory fees that exist solely to artificially lower the initially published rate are deceptive.
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 2:44 pm
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Originally Posted by MePlatPremier
While Marriott is not fully transparent in disclosing these fees on its website and does at times disguise them as local taxes, the decision to charge destination/resort fees is not Marriott’s, but rather made by each property individually (although with Marriott’s permission). In fact, Marriott loses when these fees are charged separately and not bundled into the room rate, as booking commissions are based on the room rate only.
Section 18 of the complaint alleges: ""Marriott also exercises control over the resort fees its hotels charge. Marriott’s resort fee policies forbid hotels it owns, manages or franchises from charging resort fees unless the property submits a formal request to charge the fees and
obtains Marriott’s approval to charge the fees.
Although Marriott’s Franchise Agreements typically allow its franchisees to set their own rates for guest room charges, these franchisees must still comply with Marriott’s resort fee policy, which requires them to obtain Marriott’s approval before they are permitted to charge a resort fee. "

https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/fil...-Complaint.pdf
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 2:45 pm
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Originally Posted by MePlatPremier
While Marriott is not fully transparent in disclosing these fees on its website and does at times disguise them as local taxes, the decision to charge destination/resort fees is not Marriotts, but rather made by each property individually. In fact, Marriott loses when these fees are charged separately and not bundled into the room rate, as booking commissions are based on the room rate only.
Marriott has to approve it. From the complaint

18. Marriott also exercises control over the resort fees its hotels charge. Marriotts resort fee policies forbid hotels it owns, manages or franchises from charging resort fees unless the property submits a formal request to charge the fees and obtains Marriotts approval to charge the fees. Although Marriotts Franchise Agreements typically allow its franchisees to set their own rates for guest room charges, these franchisees must still comply with Marriotts resort fee policy, which requires them to obtain Marriotts approval before they are permitted to charge a resort fee. Moreover, Marriotts Franchise Agreements prohibit charges or billing practices that Marriott determines are misleading or detrimental, including incremental fees or services that guests would normally expect to be included in the hotel room charge.
Marriott also owns and operates properties that charge these fees.
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Antarius
Marriott has to approve it. From the complaint
Marriott has to approve but it doesnt make the decision to charge a resort fee. The property does, subject to Marriotts acquiescence.


Marriott also owns and operates properties that charge these fees.
As I understand it Marriott currently owns only a handful of properties. Managed properties still have a lot of leeway regarding operational aspects. I do not know who makes the decision to charge a resort fee, but given that several managed properties in very high-demand locations do not charge these type of fees, I suspect this is decided at the property level by its ownership.
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 3:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Antarius
Marriott also owns and operates properties that charge these fees.
True. Marriott International owns The St. Regis New York, which has this notice on its Marriott.com booking page: "Please note - A daily destination fee of USD 50 added to the room rate includes USD 50 food and beverage credit and more."

No thank you. I'll decide how much I'll spend each day on F&B at a hotel. Some days it will be zero in which case I shouldn't be forced to pay (and lose) $50. Also, unlike F&B charged to the room, resort fees don't count toward hotel-stay Marriott Bonvoy Points.

For a full list of hotel properties owned or leased by Marriott International as of December 31, 2018, see pages 20 and 21 of the Marriott International, Inc. 2018 Annual Report:

https://marriott.gcs-web.com/static-...4-7bd24a381118
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 3:30 pm
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Nice to see this inept company get sued over something I've long complained about. If they had used Starwood's website which very well disclosed the resort fees and what was included in them, I wonder if they would not have been sued?
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 3:31 pm
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This is fantastic.

Just tell me what the rooms cost per night, and let me make my decision based on that.
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 3:33 pm
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Why Marriott? If I book a resort at Marriott or Hilton, they disclose the resort fee the same way. Did Racine get a campaign contribution from one and not the other?
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Old Jul 9, 2019, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by rrgg
Why Marriott? If I book a resort at Marriott or Hilton, they disclose the resort fee the same way. Did Racine get a campaign contribution from one and not the other?
They're the biggest.
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