1
   

It's time for Congress to put an end to mandatory hotel resort fees.

 
 
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2021 08:49 am
Resort Fees Las Vegas High


maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2021 09:13 am
@Real Music,
1. Why can't she just take the room or not take the room? If she doesn't like the deal she is being offered, she should go elsewhere.

2. Why is she talking into a man's shoe?
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2021 09:39 am
Travelers United, fed up with resort fees, sues MGM.


by Charlie Leocha (Mar 11, 2021)

Quote:
Travelers United has sued MGM Resorts International (MGM) for violations of the Consumer Protection Procedures Act. This is a case centered around misleading and deceptive pricing in violation of existing DC law.

MGM advertises a less expensive price and then they add a mandatory hotel fee to the room rate at a later part of the booking process. Guests are required to pay extra above and beyond any advertised price. This is a case of false advertising.

Other lawsuits have been filed by the Attorneys General of the District of Columbia and the State of Nebraska against Marriott Corporation and Hilton Corporation. Travelers United has been working with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for years. However, the FTC has not acted and they have failed the American consumers with their inaction on this false advertising.

The Complaint about violations of the Consumer Protection Procedures Act filed by Travelers United, Inc., and served on MGM Resorts International, is linked here:
https://www.travelersunited.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/MGMCaseFiled-OBC61E.pdf


MGM is lying about the costs of an overnight stay in their hotels

Basically, this chain of hotels has been advertising false overnight rates to consumers and then adding mandatory resort fees to the room rate at a later point in the booking process, or after the booking process. For instance, the room rate may be listed as $100 on the hotel website. Then, after travelers click on the hotel because the price is appealing, they complete the transaction on either a third-party site or on the hotel’s site and later learn that the room rate is not the complete overnight charge because an additional mandatory fee is added to the room rate. Resort fees are often required to be paid at check in, instead of at the time of booking.

MGM does not include these daily, mandatory fees in the advertised room rate. Thus it deprives consumers of the ability to readily comparison shop for a room at an MGM hotel. These mandatory fees are neither included in the price of competitors’ hotel rooms nor at other MGM hotels.


MGM lies to its best customers

MGM Resorts provides loyalty-members “comped” rooms based on hotel paid overnights and the guest’s gambling proclivities. A comped room is casino hotel talk for a “complimentary hotel room.” MGM, however, often requires that resort fees are paid on these “comp” rooms. This shows that MGM is acting in a particularly deceptive and misleading way. They are charging their most loyal customers a deceptive resort fee on their “comp” room which can easily be $45 a night (and with taxes over $50).

The mandatory hotel fees have nothing to do with services actually rendered. During the recent pandemic services were reduced and gyms were closed. Mandatory fees did not vary. MGM never reduced the price of a resort fee during the entire pandemic. MGM’s actions show that there is no relationship to services that were included in the fee. Resort fees exist for the hotel to lie about the advertised price, not to provide any actual services. This pandemic prove that.


The MGM mandatory fee sometimes costs more than the MGM room rate

MGM regularly uses resort fees to more than double the advertised room rate at MGM hotels such as the Excalibur and the Luxor. The advertised room rate at Luxor for July 13, 2020, was $29 per night. A overmight resort fee at the Luxor in July 2020 was $35 per night. Therefore the actual price of a room at MGM’s Luxor hotel is 121 percent more than the advertised price. An advertised room rate for July 13, 2020, at the MGM’s Excalibur hotel is $22 per night. The resort fee at the Excalibur is $35. The actual price is 159 percent more than the advertised price of a room at MGM’s hotel.


Taxpayers are forced to pay these mandatory fees even when they do not stay at MGM hotels

Whenever city officials travel to Las Vegas or stay in any MGM property, they are required to pay mandatory hotel fees that are not part of the overnight room rate.

MGM charges additional mandatory fees it calls “resort fees.” At other establishments they are sometimes referred to as “guest amenity fees,” “facility fees” or “destination fees.” Yet other terms are uses as well (referred to collectively hereafter as “resort fees”) on a daily basis for a room. However, MGM does not include these daily, mandatory fees in the room rate it advertises on its website. These fees are not included in the room rate advertised by the OTAs, thereby depriving consumers of the ability to readily compare the actual price of a room at an MGM hotel to the price of the hotel rooms offered by MGM’s competitors and at other MGM hotels.


MGM leads consumers to believe that these mandatory fees are government taxes and fees

The MGM hotel website after listing the room rate, often says “Taxes and fees may apply.” This misleads consumers to believe the additional fees are government-imposed. In fact, they are separate mandatory daily charge imposed by and paid to MGM.


MGM depends on misinformation to generate additional profits from consumers.

Travelers United is filing this lawsuit after almost a decade of little government action. DC law allows non-profits to bring suit to enforce existing state laws regarding misleading and deceptive advertising and that is what we are doing here. Travelers United has advocated for almost a decade, since the first resort fees emerged, against this deceptive and misleading advertising.

MGM Resorts International deceives customers. They charge mandatory hotel fees beyond government taxes and fees. MGM adds to the deception by charging resort fees on “comped” rooms. This kind of deceptive and misleading pricing is in clear violation of the District Consumer Protection Procedures Act.

https://www.travelersunited.org/travelers-united-fed-up-with-resort-fees-sues-mgm/
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2021 10:07 am
@Real Music,
Quote:

Guests are required to pay extra above and beyond any advertised price. This is a case of false advertising.


I kind of agree with this .... but do we have to make a legal case about everything?

I don't think anyone is actually being fooled by this. Americans love to sue.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2021 03:05 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:

Guests are required to pay extra above and beyond any advertised price. This is a case of false advertising.


I kind of agree with this .... but do we have to make a legal case about everything?

I don't think anyone is actually being fooled by this. Americans love to sue.


I cannot speak for all hotels, but any time I have looked up a hotel that is more a resort style - they have clearly noted there is a resort fee of $xx per day. Now when you first pull up hotels when you do your search it just shows the potential room rates, but once I select the room or select view rates - it gives you the selection of rooms and then it also says please note "A daily resort fee of USD XX added to the room rate includes..." then it explains what it includes.

I agree it ticks me off that they do this - a little different but also something to look at is if they charge parking - that requires sometimes a bit more search. I think the one difference on this is you do not have to park there when you are staying, but you do have to pay the resort fee if you stay there.

Honestly this is almost like whether you have free shipping or if it is extra for shipping and handling. You just have to figure in that price with the cost of the room. I do not have a legal issue with either as long as it is clearly spelled out.

However, I would prefer if they would just include the resort fee in the price of the room - it is stupid to show it separately and it does reek of trying to take advantage of people who do not pay attention when booking a room; that and taxes on the room - I do like Marriot's website as you have the option of clicking on "show rates with taxes and all fees." Solves your problem right there.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2021 03:39 pm
@Real Music,
So since MGM seemed to be their big complaint - I just tried to book a room on their website (their rooms are pretty inexpensive for June!). Right after you put in the dates you want to stay - the website pulls up available rooms with a little picture, the price, a quick description and the fact that there is a $39 daily resort fee. Here is one without the pix

West Wing King
350 sq. ft.
1 King Bed
Max Guests 2
Standard price$75.67 (Save $9.87)
Current sale price$65.80
avg/night
Plus $39 daily resort fee plus applicable taxes | Pricing Details

And I noticed afterwards that before you select the particular resort - on MGM Grand website - you gives you the option of selecting which resort - it says the from price and under that it says + $XX daily resort fee.

It is right there - which makes me wonder if this lawsuit caused them to rethink how to show the resort fee and make it VERY CLEAR.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2021 03:56 pm
@Real Music,
So now I tried Orbitz because it seemed like they were saying on the internet search sites - it does not show this resort fee until you are booking it -so I found the same hotel and room on the listing of all the hotels it does just show the daily room rate, but then there is a total amount that includes all taxes and fees which I find makes it easier to compare overall prices.

For fun, I selected the same room as on the hotel website and then clicked to see the breakout of the various fees. The resort fee was $5 higher a day on orbitz! I know one thing I read is that this website charge a much higher % than say what was charged with travel agents. So likely they are using this fee to help pay these booking websites too.

Mame
 
  2  
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2021 05:35 pm
@Linkat,
Buyer Beware. That's all I'm saying. It's like clicking on a 'too good to be true' site on the internet where you sign up to get a face cream for $5 and then they're charging you $120 for a $5 face cream. You have to read the fine print where it says "opt out within 5 days" or some such thing or they're just billing you forever. Wherever you're looking, you have to look at everything. These Resort Fees are just a cash grab. If no one stayed there, they'd end them.

Side issue: Niagara Falls - some merchants (restaurants, etc) have added a 'tourism fee' which is added automatically to your bill. This is not legal and you do not have to pay it. Unless you question it, you pay it and it goes directly to the merchant. Pretty slimy, if you ask me.
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2021 07:51 pm
@Linkat,
Quote:
So now I tried Orbitz because it seemed like they were saying on the internet search sites -
it does not show this resort fee until you are booking it


1. And therein lies the problem.

2. I would love to be able to compare hundreds of different Las Vegas resort fees head to head simultaneously without having to have to go into each of their booking process one hotel at a time.

3. Isn't it peculiar that I can find out the advertised room rates of hundreds of Las Vegas hotels simultaneously at one time without having to have to click on any of them?

4. But, if I want to find out the true cost/Resort fee, I have to spend extra time clicking onto the booking process of each hotel one hotel at a time.

5. In some ways, it is similar to the practice of bait and switch.
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2021 08:01 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
I kind of agree with this .... but do we have to make a legal case about everything?

In this particular case, the answer to your question is yes.
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2021 12:07 am
1. According to TripAdvisor Las Vegas has 356 hotel properties.

2. I can't imagine how much time it would take to proceed to the booking page of 356 different hotels just to get the Resort fee cost comparison of each of the hotels, one hotel at a time.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2021 05:41 am
Remember the days before the internet... when we wern't so fixated on driving the price down?

If you wanted to get a hotel room, you might see an ad in the paper with a special price. If you were doing price shopping you would have to call or visit each place. But there wasn't this obsession with getting the absolute lowest price.

This ability for you to magically call up all the prices is new. It takes something away from businesses who now have to show all of their cards up front. Smaller businesses can no longer talk to you in person... you show up at their door already knowing the price you are going to pay.

The internet has changed things for businesses and made the process of purchasing services much less personal. Winning your business is now a race to the bottom. I think businesses are trying to adapt to that.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2021 06:22 am
@Real Music,
No - it does give the fee right when you pull it up now any way.

It is really easy to compare - but to me this is not much different than many other things you do on the internet - you do not get shipping and handling fees typically until you check out - in either case you do see it or can see it before you commit to the purchase, it is just when you finally see that extra charge.

I know I have run into this many times with online shopping - amazon usually does a good job showing you the shipping and handling costs while you are looking at various products, but other websites I have to get to the very end before I see this. So I find the product is only $10 but it is another $20 for shipping and handling so I find it will cost me more than another site that is charging $15 with no shipping and handling costs.

For parking fees at a hotel - they rarely show this at all - you need to search for it to find it. I know whenever I am traveling to look to see if parking is included or if it is an additional fee, but yet you do not hear people complaining about it.

The one thing I did not like was when I heard that the hotel was not even showing you the fee upon checkout - that when you get to the hotel they tell you there is an additional resort fee. I do think most hotels have stopped this probably without even having a lawsuit - just with the number of complaints when they started this. I remember the first time this happened, I was traveling for business - I didn't care because the company was paying for it, but after that I knew to check for this fee.

We would all love to compare different things simultaneously - we like to be spoon fed - but we are smart people and know that shipping and handling can vary so we need to find out if the lower price is really lower by looking at the shipping and handling. Do we need to be spoon fed that as well?

And by the way Orbitz does show this fee as I said - the complaint said it did not. This may not even be a result of a lawsuit - it is likely to better serve customers as that is one reason people like to go to places like orbitz so they do not need to do their own comparison. I would venture to guess when these fees first started orbitz was not in a position to show them in their prices but now they do. Why? Because in the end they just want to book hotels and get their percentage - it doesn't matter which hotel.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2021 06:36 am
@Real Music,
Real Music wrote:

1. According to TripAdvisor Las Vegas has 356 hotel properties.

2. I can't imagine how much time it would take to proceed to the booking page of 356 different hotels just to get the Resort fee cost comparison of each of the hotels, one hotel at a time.


But they do show all fees. I wrote that above - the claim is different than what is actually on the website.

Go to Orbitz -

You select the location and dates - they pull up the plethora of hotels. On that page they give the hotel name, location, a little picture, a link to the hotel website, if they have free cancelation, the ratings and number of reviews, the price per night and the total amount including all fees and taxes (which includes the resort fee).

So yes you can completely compare these fees - they one thing it does not include is parking if there is a fee for parking.

So yes you could in theory compare all 356 hotels but I think most people do end up filtering out depending on what their needs, price level and other options are. And any way - the total amount for your stay including resort fees, taxes and any other fees are shown clearly.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2021 06:39 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Remember the days before the internet... when we wern't so fixated on driving the price down?

If you wanted to get a hotel room, you might see an ad in the paper with a special price. If you were doing price shopping you would have to call or visit each place. But there wasn't this obsession with getting the absolute lowest price.

This ability for you to magically call up all the prices is new. It takes something away from businesses who now have to show all of their cards up front. Smaller businesses can no longer talk to you in person... you show up at their door already knowing the price you are going to pay.

The internet has changed things for businesses and made the process of purchasing services much less personal. Winning your business is now a race to the bottom. I think businesses are trying to adapt to that.


Yes - upon reading about these fees way back when I first heard about them - hotels starting putting them in place because of this. They were losing money because of the higher % these search engines like orbitz and hotels.com charge. But I think what they need to do know is just increase the price - everyone pretty much knows this tactic now and they are showing the fees now for most reputable hotels that want repeat customers
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2021 06:44 am
@Mame,
Mame wrote:

Buyer Beware. That's all I'm saying. It's like clicking on a 'too good to be true' site on the internet where you sign up to get a face cream for $5 and then they're charging you $120 for a $5 face cream. You have to read the fine print where it says "opt out within 5 days" or some such thing or they're just billing you forever. Wherever you're looking, you have to look at everything. These Resort Fees are just a cash grab. If no one stayed there, they'd end them.


I think you need some sort of balance - yes all fees should be shown but you also have to be a smart consumer. So you think you got a great fee for a hotel...you get there and it is a dump. Yeah they have a free wifi and a pool but there is no way in heck you would swim in that thing. But you only paid $30 a night with fees and taxes $35. What the h*ll do you think you are going to get?

You look back at the website - there are no lies there - everything is correct, the pictures on the website look so much better... of course they do - they are going to take pictures in the right way to make it look better.

Did you read the reviews? Well, no. I just want to be spoon fed this information. Ah - you go in and read and see pictures that people that stayed there had.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2021 08:34 am
@Linkat,
Sometimes you can get fooled, though. My travel buddy and I were in Cartagena and we asked our lovely, helpful hotel staff where we should go for a few days near the water. They recommended Punta de Canoa. We chose a place (there were only a few) which had glowing reviews and fabulous pictures. When we got there, it was a dump. Patio furniture made out of packing crates (lol), the pool was twice the size of a bathtub, breakfast was instant coffee and a piece of watermelon rolled up in a slice of bologna skewered with a toothpick. LOL We cut our stay short!
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2021 09:10 am
@Mame,
Mame wrote:

Sometimes you can get fooled, though. My travel buddy and I were in Cartagena and we asked our lovely, helpful hotel staff where we should go for a few days near the water. They recommended Punta de Canoa. We chose a place (there were only a few) which had glowing reviews and fabulous pictures. When we got there, it was a dump. Patio furniture made out of packing crates (lol), the pool was twice the size of a bathtub, breakfast was instant coffee and a piece of watermelon rolled up in a slice of bologna skewered with a toothpick. LOL We cut our stay short!


Yeah - that is the danger of being outside your native country! You tend to know a bit more of the rules/laws/what is typical - when you are in the country you reside. Outside there are different ways so it is easier to get "scammed". Surprised though that the hotel staff where you were staying would not give you better recommendations.

Reviews can be and are often made by the hotel ownership itself - where did you get the reviews from? Usually better to get from an independent source - they use some technology to weed out things like this - not 100% perfect but better than some hotel websites themselves. I do try to read the actual reviews and try to see what the specifics are - I have seen some people rate a hotel with a 3 out 5 but yet in the review they rave about it. Also have seen people rate a 1 and they are mad because of some small incidental thing.
Mame
 
  2  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2021 09:22 am
@Linkat,
The hotel staff just recommended the town, not the place. They had never been there.

It was not even a third-world (more like seven-world) town - the whole place was horrible. We bought 5 lbs of dog kibble to feed all the starving dogs in the street.

We used Booking.com, and in the many travels I've done with her, this was the one and only time the reviews didn't match. The host was adorable - it wasn't his fault except the photos of food in the review were lies - and he drove us back to Cartegena when we wanted to go.
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2021 08:01 pm
@Linkat,
Quote:
It is right there - which makes me wonder if this lawsuit caused them to rethink how to show the resort fee and make it VERY CLEAR.

That could quite possibly be the reason.
 

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