Hilton and Marriott are sued over deceptive hidden ‘resort fees’

Marriott and Hilton were sued for using misleading pricing practices related to sketchy “resort fees.”

August 27, 2019

Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Last week, Marriott and Hilton were sued for their use of controversial “resort fees,” which charge customers hidden fees beyond their posted prices. 

The lawsuits, which were the result of an investigation into hotel pricing practices undertaken across all 50 states and DC, accuse the hotel chains of “deceptive and misleading” pricing practices.

‘Drip pricing’ makes it harder for consumers to compare prices

Many hotels advertise one price for lodging online, and then strategically reveal other mandatory fees (drip by drip) later in the payment process.

Because consumers can’t tell the full price, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue, this tactic makes it harder for consumers to compare prices and make informed decisions.

Resort fees are a great deal for hotels

Hidden resort fees are common: Research suggests that ⅓ of Americans have paid hidden fees for hotels in the last year. At Marriott, these fees range from $9 to $95 per day; at Hilton, they range from $15 to $45. 

The hotel industry, which collects $3B in resort fees and hidden surcharges each year, has come under fire for deceptive pricing practices before (most recently in an FTC investigation in 2012 and 2013), but pricing practices have yet to change.

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