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Hotel “resort fees” could very well qualify as the eighth wonder of the world in that they’re mandatory yet largely invisible — and leave you wondering exactly what that extra $25 per night actually bought you. Long the scourge of travelers everywhere, now the Federal Trade Commission seems to be coming over to our way of thinking.
In the midst of an ongoing rise in resort fees, The Washington Post recently reported that the Federal Trade Commission is considering making a change to the policy it established back in 2012 stating it was okay for hotels and resorts to charge these fees as long as they were disclosed before booking.
But that policy, according to The Washington Post, “created a loophole that allowed properties to quote a low initial room rate online and then add the mandatory fees later in the process, which consumer advocates argued was unfair and deceptive.” In other words, it allowed hotels to advertise a great nightly rate only to add in a resort fee at the very end, just as you’re getting ready to click “book.”
The rumored new policy would require that any fees be built into the nightly rate, effectively eliminating resort fees altogether.
Between January and June of this year, resort fees increased by a whopping 8%, with the Florida Keys, Myrtle Beach and Miami leading the charge.
“This was quite shocking to me because resort fees are already so high,” ResortFeeChecker.com publisher Randy Greencorn told The Washington Post, adding that, “Breaking apart the resort fee from the room cost has no purpose, except to make the room rate look less expensive at the time of booking.”
Though the FTC declined to comment for The Washington Post’s article, the agency’s chairwoman, Edith Ramirez, has made her thoughts on the current policy known. In January, she sent a letter to several U.S. representatives who had stated that they find resort fees to be a deceptive practice, urging them to get Congress involved. “In my view,” wrote Ramirez, “the most efficient and effective means to mandate the type of industry-wide requirement you propose would be through legislation.” Translation: transparency could in fact be the next big hotel trend.
H/T: The Washington Post
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