We had been looking at the Resort Fee problem for numerous years. We have advised customers on litigation, compliance and threat mitigation strategies. We have furnished recommend on Attorney General investigations. We understand the quality defenses to patron and government corporation claims that Resort Fee practices represent violations of state purchaser safety movements, the Federal Trade Commission Act and other cause of action based on misrepresentation, consumer fraud, and unfair business practices.
We have advised that purchaser frustration over this issue could be very excessive, and authorities agencies have periodically proven full-size hobby in leaping on a populist bandwagon. But nowadays, it seems like the state of affairs may additionally have sooner or later reached a turning point.
Hotel Resort Fees litigation back within the news
On July nine, 2019, the Attorney General for the District of Columbia sued Marriott International in Superior Court for the District of Columbia over its regulations and practices concerning “Resort Fees” and “drip pricing.” The lawsuit says that Marriott’s use of Resort Fee pricing misrepresents material information (and has a tendency to lie to customers), and is an illegal trade exercise that violates the District’s Consumer Protection Act.
Resort Fees is a shorthand expression for all mandatory charges and charges imposed by using a motel on its visitors which are not blanketed in the quoted room price. They may have a variety of names inclusive of lodge fees, carrier expenses, amenity fees, vacation spot expenses, surcharges or otherwise. But the common function is that they may be non-non-compulsory costs to the guest which aren’t covered inside the initially quoted room charge.
Copy of the criticism in DC vs. Marriott
Click here to view a replica of the grievance.
The potential significance of this Resort Fee case
Resort Fees have been around when you consider that at the least 1997, but by using 2017 they have been envisioned to have grown to greater than $2.7 billion. They appear to be gaining more recognition with hoteliers and stay a top annoyance for hotel guest. The practices the brand new lawsuit complains of are extensively used throughout the industry by way of a massive number of inn manufacturers and operators.
While some hotel agencies may additionally are searching for to differentiate their practices from the ones of Marriott in this case, we consider that most Resort Fee instances will present comparable liabilities, demanding situations and compliance issues that Marriott will face.
Putting Resort Fee litigation in the context
Over the years, there have been periods of intense cognizance on diverse mandatory hotel expenses, which includes some client class moves, an FTC press launch and letter to 22 resort companies in 2012, the formation of a venture pressure through forty-seven Attorneys General in 2016, and an FTC Report issued in January 2017.
But because the January 2017 FTC Report, it regarded like government motion on Resort Fees calmed down. Some idea the regulator’s misplaced interest. Others notion the Trump administration had introduced a brand new decrease-key approach to regulatory enforcement. In any occasion, there has been no high-profile enforcement movement or litigation till the July 9, 2019 lawsuit filed through the Washington DC Attorney General.
In the coming days, we can see if the FTC steps again into this difficulty, and whether the alternative 46 Attorneys General provoke comparable litigation in opposition to Marriott or other proprietors and operators with Resort Fees. The Federal Trade Commission Act and maximum states purchaser protection laws have provisions similar to the District of Columbia’s.
While some plaintiffs’ legal professionals might also favor journeying the coat tails of the Federal or State government movement, others may are seek for to record elegance movements to stake out their claims early in the sport.