Forty-seven Attorneys General joined together to investigate the practice of non-disclosure of hotel resort fees. On June 7, 2017 Marriott was sued by the District of Columbia regarding their lack of complying with the Attorneys General investigation that began in May 2016. The Attorney General of the District of Columbia stated “the subpoena was served in connection with a national investigation involving the Attorneys General of 46 states and the Attorney General that is being led by the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, and which concerns deceptive price advertising techniques used by Marriott. The subpoena required Marriott to produce documents relevant to the Attorneys General’s investigation into whether Marriott’s practice of charging undisclosed or poorly disclosed resort fees in addition to the advertised daily rate for lodging at Marriott’s hotel properties, as well as Marriott’s characterization of such charges as a tax or government imposed fee, violated the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act (“CPPA”), D.C. Code 28-3901 and other State consumer protection laws.”
The District of Columbia’s Attorney General goes on to say that “Marriott has intentionally engaged in a practice labeled ‘drip pricing’ by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), where it advertises part of the price a consumer will need to pay daily for its rooms, but later adds to the charge a resort or amenities fee, which is an additional charge for the room and is considered part of the guest room revenue by Marriott. In November 2012, the FTC warned the hotel industry that this type of drip pricing may violate the law by misrepresenting the price consumers can expect to pay for their hotel rooms, but Marriott has not ceased this practice.”
We certainly encourage the action by the District of Columbia Attorney General’s Office, along with the 46 other State Attorney Generals, in investigating hotel resort fees. We hope this investigation leads to swift end to hotel resort fees.