Hotel Guests Take on L.A. Area Marriotts Over Surcharges


The Wall Street Journal reports a group of guests are taking Marriott International to court over the surcharge, claiming that adding the fee is against California consumer protection laws.


Consumers Allege Marriott Hotels Earn $3.6 Million from Surcharge

The surcharge comes from a law passed by the Los Angeles City Council in 2022, which mandates certain protections for hotel workers. Among them are higher wages for workers at hotels with 45 rooms or more who clean beyond a certain amount of the hotel.


In turn, the plaintiffs allege L.A.-area Marriott Hotels are charging between $10 and $14 per night as a “hotel work protection ordinance cost” fee, specifically around Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The group claims that Marriott could make as much as $3.6 million annually on the fee, which does not necessarily go towards the workers it claims to protect.


“The cost for Marriott to comply with the ordinance at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott is far less than $3,600,000 annually,” the group argues in the lawsuit. “Instead, the HWPO Fee is nothing more than a ‘junk fee’ that directly benefits Marriott at the expense of guests at Marriott’s hotels.”


The lawsuit argues that the fees give the Marriott hotels an unfair advantage over the competition by advertising lower prices, while charging more at checkout. The hotel company denies the allegations, saying that all fees are presented upfront at time of booking. It is unclear how much in damages the lawsuit is seeking.


The court case is still open, and no decision has been made for either party.


Case Comes as “Junk Fees” Under Scrutiny

The lawsuit comes as federal regulators are looking into so-called “junk fees” at hotels and other hospitality businesses. In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission announced a new potential rule which would address “unfair or deceptive fees.”


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Source: frugal travel guy

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