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Hotels Warned About Deceptive Price Quotes

Washington, DC: Hotel operators that provide "deceptively low pricing"on their online reservation sites are being warned by the Federal Trade Commission that they may in violation of the law for consumer fraud.

The FTC issued warning letters in 2012 to 11 hotels citing consumer complaints that surfaced at a conference the FTC held on "drip pricing,"a pricing technique in which firms advertise only part of a product' 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.

Specifically, consumers complained that they did not know that they would be required to pay resort fees in addition to the quoted hotel room rate. Several stated that they only learned of the fees after they arrived at the hotel, long after making a reservation at what they believed to be the total room price. Others paid for the reservation in advance, and only found out after they arrived at the hotel that they would have to pay additional mandatory fees.

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Recently, I booked a room for two nights through at the Treasure Island hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. When I entered the dates and the number of adults and children staying in the room, I was given a price of $129 a night. After confirming I was asked to click a button that says "Book Now!" However, once I clicked the button to book the room, my account was immediately charged and the price nearly doubled. Not only did the price increase dramatically, but additional charges were then disclosed, which include $100 per day deposit, and a $41 per accommodation resort fee, again totaling nearly $300 addition dollars above and beyond the already inflated price which doubled once I booked it. When I spoke to a representative they claim it is the Hotel which charges the additional fees at check in. I believe this site is very deceptive and try to blatantly mislead their customers with false pricing by failing to clearly display charges a customer can expect to pay, and only displays them once the reservation has been made.


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