WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The District of Columbia sued Marriott Worldwide Inc on Tuesday, claiming that necessary resort charges at its accommodations are unlawful and misleading, the lawyer common’s workplace mentioned.
“Marriott reaped a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of in revenue by deceiving customers concerning the true value of its resort rooms,” mentioned District of Columbia Lawyer Basic Karl Racine. “Bait-and-switch promoting and misleading pricing practices are unlawful.”
Marriott declined to touch upon pending litigation. The lawsuit mentioned that 189 Marriott properties worldwide impose charges starting from $9 to $95 a day.
Resort charges, generally known as vacation spot or amenity charges, are displayed individually from resort room costs. The costs are sometimes lumped with taxes, giving the impression they’re authorities imposed, and solely develop into evident to customers close to the top of the reserving course of, the company mentioned.
The observe has emerged as customers more and more comparability store on journey web sites. Inns entice vacationers by promoting decrease room charges that don’t embrace the charges.
“By charging these charges, accommodations can improve income with out showing to lift costs. Over the previous decade, Marriott has elevated its use of resort charges,” the lawyer common mentioned.
The grievance seeks to drive Marriott to incorporate necessary charges in its marketed room costs, to reimburse D.C. residents who paid the charges and to pay unspecified penalties.
“It is a actually massive deal. That is the primary time that we’ve had authorized motion taken in opposition to the accommodations for the resort charges,” mentioned Charles Leocha, president of client advocacy group Vacationers United, which has been combating resort charges.
Resort charges make it arduous for customers to match room costs precisely, he mentioned.
The lawsuit follows an investigation by state attorneys common from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Racine mentioned.
Reporting by Bryan Pietsch, modifying by G Crosse, Invoice Berkrot and Cynthia Osterman