Hotel Fees That Are More Than You Bargained For

When you book a hotel room online, you expect that the rate you see is the rate you’ll pay, right?

To help make sure that’s the case, the FTC is sending warning letters to 22 online hotel reservation sites that may be violating the law by not including mandatory fees, which can add as much as $30 a night to your stay, in some of the prices they quote online.

These extra costs, often called “resort fees,” might be for fitness facilities or internet access. But what matters is that you must pay them whether you use the services or not. Many people who complained to the FTC said they didn’t learn about the additional fees until they arrived at the hotel, after they made an online reservation for what they thought was the full price.

Knowing about extra fees lets you compare rates for different hotels fairly. If you’re not sure whether a website is showing you the whole price, call the hotel and ask if they’ll add a resort fee or any other mandatory fee. Ask them to tell you the total price.

Listing the resort fee near the quoted price or in the fine print — or referring to other fees “that may apply” — doesn’t cut it. If you find out a hotel hasn’t told you the whole story about mandatory fees, in addition to complaining to the company, file a complaint with the FTC.

Tagged with: advertising, buying
Blog Topic: Be Smart Online


these should also be effective in Nigeria.because foreign employees make use of this hotels

One major international hotel chain in which I am platinum with their loyalty program offered promotion to earn free nights. I earned a few and redeemed a free night at one of their properties. Only to find out right at time of checkout that they imposed a $60 resort fee!! They tried to convince me that the 'free' portion of the offer didn't apply to 'resort fees'. So after paying $180 in resort fees for my 3 'free' nights, I was left with a bad taste. To me, and likely any consumer, 'FREE' means 'FREE', unless they forewarn you at time of booking - not ANYTIME after!

this is common in Palm Springs and other areas why isn't the FTC enforcing the law? It's just like the do not call list also not enforced by the FTC
is the FTC on vacation?

There should be a crackdown on hotel advertising just like the airline fees & taxes shakeup a short time ago. The advertised rate should include all fees to foster transparency and make true price comparisons possible.

Yes,usually hotel takes the extra fees which ain't shown before.

I never use the "resort fees" amenities. Why should I pay for something I don't use. The American public is being ripped off! Stay somewhere else - that will stop the fraudulent resort fees.

Why can the government make the rental car industry and hotel industry, especially the hotels in Las Vegas Nevada where they charge resort fees, to include all fees and taxes in one price quote? A few years back, I remembered the airlines were doing what the rental car and hotel industries are doing now. Meaning the websites would quote the airfares but the taxes and fees were added later when you are ready to pay with your credit card. But now, maybe the government got involved?? The airlines are quoting the total airfares with taxes and fees included. I think the government/FTC really need to take action on this matter.

If you think a business isn't giving you all the information about fees, you can complain to the company and to the FTC at The information you give the FTC goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Thanks for the reply and suggestion but it seems like FTC is already aware of the issue. I found the following press release dated November 2012. I am curious what action has been taken since 2012? --

The Federal Trade Commission has warned 22 hotel operators that their online reservation sites may violate the law by providing a deceptively low estimate of what consumers can expect to pay for their hotel rooms. The warning letters cited consumer complaints that surfaced at a recent conference the FTC held on “drip pricing,” a pricing technique in which firms advertise only part of a product’s price and reveal other charges as the customer goes through the buying process. According to the FTC letters, “One common complaint consumers raised involved mandatory fees hotels charge for amenities such as newspapers, use of onsite exercise or pool facilities, or internet access, sometimes referred to as ‘resort fees.’ These mandatory fees can be as high as $30 per night, a sum that could certainly affect consumer purchasing decisions.” The warning letters also state that consumers often did not know they would be required to pay resort fees in addition to the quoted hotel rate.

The FTC has not announced any actions since the warning letters were sent.

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