Marriott Settles Lawsuit and Agrees to Include Resort Fees in Room Rate
A lawsuit filed earlier his year accused Marriott of charging customers unfair fees which raise the room rate significantly higher than the posted price. Now the hotel chain has reached a settlement and has agreed to disclose these fees upfront as part of the total price. Marriott will soon start showing the sum of its room rates and all mandatory fees, including resort fees, on the first page of its booking website.
The settlement was agreed with Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office last week. Marriott will implement the changes within the next nine months.
Over the years, travelers have been misled by the published rates offered by hotels for a night’s stay only later to be hit with “resort fees” through the hotel industry’s practice of “drip pricing”. Hotels advertise rates that don’t include additional mandatory fees.
The lawsuit filings also revealed how lucrative resort fees are for Marriott. The company reportedly collected more than $220 million in resort fees dating back to 2012. Its self-managed resorts made $66 million in 2012, $82 million in 2013 and $58 million through half of 2014, just from resort fees.
“Hotels shouldn’t be able to slap hidden fees on top of your bill at the last minute, and thanks to this settlement we’re putting the hotel industry on notice to put an end to this deceptive practice,” said AG Josh Shapiro. “With costs going up and more seniors and families traveling for the holidays, consumers should beware of these surprise fees when booking. Marriott has stepped up to commit itself to fix this practice and we expect more hotel chains to follow suit.”
This settlement will benefit not just Pennsylvanians, but consumers nationwide. Marriott is one of the largest hotel companies in the United States, and Attorney General Shapiro expects other hotel chains and third party vendors will take notice and follow suit. That should make it clear to customers where they can get the best deal when comparing prices.