Attorney General Alerts

    Resort Fees Can Be Costly


    June 1, 2016

    Summer travel plans are taking shape, and some of those trips could take Arkansans out of state to Las Vegas, Orlando or San Diego. Meanwhile, some Arkansans are planning trips closer to home, in Little Rock, Bentonville or one of the many state parks. But there are some hotels in popular destinations that may charge additional fees called resort fees.

    Resort fees are mandatory surcharges added to hotel bills for use of the hotel gym and pool towels -- even the morning newspaper or local phone calls. These fees are applied prior to the hotel stay and are charged even if those services are not rendered during the stay. Find out if the hotel you’re planning to stay in charges resort fees at ResortFeeChecker.com.

    Because many Arkansans travel with a limited vacation budget, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to inform consumers about these additional and oftentimes hidden fees.

    “Resort fees are little-known charges that hotel guests are on the hook for,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Hotels like these fees because they can keep their advertised price low but increase the price through these fees. Time and again the traveler is not made aware of this additional cost until the end of the transaction when taxes are also applied.”

    Attorney General Rutledge released the following additional information about resort fees:

    • High-end facilities have been charging resort fees since the 1990s, but within the last 10 years, more hotels have been charging these additional fees.
    • Critics are encouraging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to require hotels to disclose their fees upfront, similar to how the Department of Transportation mandated airlines to provide a detailed list of fees.
    • Read the fine print before finalizing the transaction. Be mindful that these fees are often not revealed until after the booking process has begun. But the reservation can be abandoned by exiting the screen or hanging up the telephone.
    • Ask if the hotel will waive the resort fee, especially if you do not intend on using the amenities.
    • The extra money paid in resort fees does not usually go toward any loyalty programs.

    The FTC sent warning letters to 22 hotel operators in 2012 encouraging them to disclose the resort fees. But these fees continue and some high-end hotels in popular destinations charge up to $100 per night, according to ResortFeeChecker.com.

    For more information about ways to stay safe while traveling and other consumer-related issues or to file a consumer complaint, contact the Attorney General's office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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