I spent the past 4 days in Las Vegas (attending the SHOT show - impressive). The company that sent me there booked me a room in the Excalibur hotel/casino - rather a strange place, but serviceable.
I used an “auto checkout” kiosk as I was departing, and was surprised to see a $14/day “resort fee” - my room was supposed to have been fully prepaid. I went to the info desk to ask about this and had the following conversation:
Me: “I have a question about this $14/day resort fee.”
Desk clerk: “Yes, that’s the daily resort fee.”
Me: “Right - but what is it, exactly?”
DC: “It’s 12.50 per day plus 1.50 tax.”
Me: “Right - but what is it for? And why wasn’t I told about this?”
DC: “It’s added to every bill at checkout time.”
Me: “But I’d like to hear what it covers, why I wasn’t told about it, and why it wasn’t included in the charges agreed to when this room was booked.”
DC: “Well, you’ll have to go to the Checkout desk to ask that.”
Around 20 people were in line at the checkout desk and my airport limo was due in a couple of minutes, so I decided to skip further inquiries.
Does anyone have experience with this? Is this anything more than “We decided to whack you for an extra $14/day, just because we think we can.” Do I have any hope of fighting this?
Did you pay this? If not, don’t argue with the hotel. Tell them to bill the people who originally booked and paid for the room. The end.
If you’ve already paid the $56, tell the company who did the booking that you ended up paying this and see if they’ll reimburse you. Let them argue with the hotel.
Otherwise, you can call the hotel and demand they reimburse you directly. Let the hotel know that you found this resort charge deceptive and that you’ll mention it in the review you’ll give the hotel on the various travel websites you use.
If that doesn’t work, see if your credit card company (if you paid by credit card) will do a charge back. Let the hotel explain why they can tack on a charge you’ve never agreed to.
And, last, but not least, write a complaint to the Nevada Attorney General. All it takes is one call from someone at the AG office, and the hotel will quickly explain it’s all a misunderstanding and that they’ll cheerfully refund you your $56.
I’ve found complaining to various state AGs a great way to handle disputes when shady practices abound. The last thing these clowns want is someone from the AG office poking around their business. Better to simply give you the dispute and hope you’ll shut up and say everything is resolved.
I second qazwart just complain about it. If they say that it is for the pool, towels, concierge, etc., deny that you used any of it. Say that you wanted a hotel room, that is what you agreed to and that is what you are paying for. All else will be protested to the CC company.
If possible bring the gov’t into it, either by AG or my preferred (and truthful) method. “I am a Federal Government contractor. We are not allowed to pay extraneous fees. If you have a problem with this, hear is my contract contact at the Department of Defense. Please feel free to call to confirm my information.”
I just got back from Hawaii and was sickened by how every last place was putting obnoxious fees like this on the bill. It was bad enough when they started charging for internet, but for beach towels and pool usage? That is just bait and switch and it is going to be customers complaining that will change it back.
“Resort fees” may have at one time been a special fee for use of special services. At some hotels, somewhere, this may be the case. Speaking as a person who has stayed at hundreds, if not more, of hotels for business - “resort fees” are just a way for the hotel to shaft you and get more money out of you.
I’ve always had them repay them when I’ve bothered to complain, but the complaint process has always taken far more woman-time than the fee was worth. Since I don’t pay the bill and $8, $10, or whatever is chump change when you’re working on a $10M project, I rarely waste my time arguing with hotel staff. For my personal trips, I ask in advance and just add the fee on top of the net cost when I’m picking hotels.
Other fees I’ve been charged:
Garage fees, when I didn’t drive.
Pool fees, when I didn’t swim (what was stupid was in one case not only were all guests charged the Pool Fee, it still cost an additional $5 to get into the pool!)
“Entertainment fee”, when I sure as shit didn’t get any entertainment.
“Health club fee”, for a health club which was closed.
“Internet fee”, for a hotel without wired OR wireless internet access. “It’s a corporate fee, ma’am.”
And of course although SDMB members here from Europe swear it never, ever, not in a million years ever happens, European hotels simply love to quote rates either 1) without VAT, or 2) they tell you in writing the rate includes VAT, and then it turns out it doesn’t. Hotels in Europe will never budge on this, and won’t even argue with you - they dramatically pick up the phone and threaten to call the police, just as you’re 5 minutes from getting into the airport shuttle. I’m forced to always budget 30% extra on any European hotel price for “unexpected” fees.
I would simply dispute the charge with my credit card company. The bank that processes the credit cards for the hotel will charge the hotel a fee for it, even if you lose.
Where I worked, every chargeback to our hotel was a $15.00 to the hotel, even if we won, so it made more sense to write off small complaints then risk a chargeback.
As someone who worked for years and years a resort fee can be anything. It can cover things like Internet, pool, health club, etc etc
This is why I always ask for the TOTAL price. Reservationists and desk clerks are trained NEVER to quote full prices. Just the room rate, BUT they are also told if the customer asks for TOTAL PRICE, including all taxes and fees, they then should give it to the customer.
This is standard for the hospitality and even most retail places, quote without taxes etc.
Most banks let you file a dispute online, so call the accounting department of the hotel, explain that you want the undisclosed fee off your credit card. If they refuse then open a chargeback with the hotel.
Even if you lose, you’ll have the satisfaction that the chargeback cost the hotel some money
Frequent traveler here, and cheapskate to boot.
I will be surprised if you get your fee refunded and surprised if it’s not part of your prepaid agreement.
In the very competetive world of hotel bookings, a “resort fee” is a way of saying “We are going to add a fee to your room above and beyond the daily rate you hope you are paying.” It’s usually positioned as non-optional, applied whether or not any of the listed items within are actually used, and not part of any pre-paid deals you get online. Sometimes it covers internet access, daily parking (these two are typical for Vegas hotel resort feels) and things like towels for the pool or beach.
It’s nothing but a surcharge, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get it back especially if you are a bit player. Resort fees are a pretty old idea, so things like class action lawsuits have already been settled (Here is a Hilton example) and so firms like Priceline or Hotwire plus the various hotels themselves simply parked in appropriate legal weasling language. Apparently once something is “disclosed” it does not matter how tortured the ripoff is. I once had a lovely argument with a Hilton hotel after a Hotwire booking during which I suggested they sell the room for $10/day and charge a $100/day “resort fee.”
In short, I suspect you’ve been had. It really hurts the first time, and then after that you get used to figuring it into the cost of whatever you are booking. Another favorite scam of mine is to have one price which includes breakfast and another which does not…
Resort fees are “junk fees” to allow the hotel to charge more than its quoted room rate and pad the profits. The first time I ever saw it was around 2002 at the Disney Hilton in Orlando (not owned by Disney, but on the Disney World property). When I checked out was the first time I saw the fee. I questioned it and the desk clerk referred me to the MOD. I said it was not included in the rate I was quoted and he removed it on the spot, no further fuss. But it’s getting harder to challenge it.
After the travel business softened, especially after 9/11, most hotels have added a fee like this with the excuse that it covers various amenities that were always included without a fee in the past. It’s not much different than mortgage lenders charging for mailing something, car dealers charging a “processing fee,” or airlines charging to check a bag.
The last time I complained about a resort fee, they pointed out that it is listed on the web page that confirmed my online booking. It was, but this is still a sleazy practice because you don’t see the fee until you get to a confirmation page, and by then you aren’t really looking for additional fees.
When you are charged a resort fee that was not mentioned when booking, then you should always complain, but success will vary.
The $56 now sits as a charge on my credit card - I had no time to dispute the matter in person, since I didn’t find out about it until 10 minutes before departing for the airport.
I’m sure the company that sent me will cover the $56. But they regularly send people to LV exhibitions so I’m surprised there would be a “sneak” charge they didn’t know about and cover up-front.
I do intend to inquire into just what the charge was supposed to cover. I’m going to guess that internet service is included - but I tried to get online the first night I was there (had to send a semi-important email) but in half an hour of trying couldn’t establish an internet connection - so I gave up on that. Had I known I was being charged $14/day, I would have looked into this; as it was, I did my email at the show.
There’s something very distasteful about charges that appear to be deliberately hidden.
I did some Googling and found the following at hotels.com:
Internet service didn’t work and no newspaper was delivered. I made no phone calls, did no faxing, and never went near a fitness center or health club.
Since the fee is collected “either at check-in or check-out”, I need to look into whether this fee was also paid by the company (which I suspect is possible, since I think they would have known about it and would not have wanted me to be surprised by it).
If it wasn’t disclosed at the time the room was booked, it’s deceptive. I’m not sure who you’d file complaints with but you could, I suppose, try to file a credit card chargeback.
We recently stayed at a hotel+waterpark (the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix) that had a resort fee - 30 dollars per day. Which was mandatory - but at least it was disclosed in advance. Made their room rates look better, I guess. They also charged 15 dollars a day for internet access (we declined to pony up) because they were into soaking the guests for every penny they could. They also had a minibar in the room which was really annoying - we were afraid to even put anything in the fridge for fear of triggering a fee.
It’s funny how the higher end hotels - which start out pricier than average - are into extracting EVERY SINGLE EXTRA PENNY. The lower-end places, which include a lot more stuff without the extra gouging, are much less scummy.
Airlines do it. Car rental companies do it. Hotels do it. It’s all a la carte these days. Even fast food places around here do it if you want more than one ketchup packet.
Hell, even my local grocer does it, but in reverse. I get a six cent discount for every bag I bring into the store. So even if I buy two bags’ worth of groceries, I brought in four bags and get an extra 12 cents off my total bill.
Yeah, but in the case of the OP, it’d be like the car company saying “extra insurance is mandatory and added onto the price”… after you’ve returned the car. Or the airline adding on a checked-bag fee if you don’t check any bags.
While I think it’s scummy that they pull some of this crap - if it’s a mandatory fee it should be included in the price of the damn room because otherwise it’s a ruse to deliberately make their rates look lower than another place - if it’s disclosed up front (as it was NOT, per the OP) it’s at least SLIGHTLY less dishonest.
When I checked in, I signed a form, as is typical. I now suspect this form contained some fine print about the resort fee. It was around midnight (which is to say, 3am by my clock) and I’d had a roughish trip that included significant delays and a canceled flight, so I wasn’t in a mood to suspect this sort of thing and carefully read the form.
And the resort fee certainly wasn’t mentioned - indeed I was specifically told that the room was fully pre-paid. I’m sure the hotel will say something along the lines of “Yes, indeed, the room was pre-paid - we consider the resort fee entirely separate from the room charge.”
I’ll find out tomorrow whether the pre-payment included the resort fee (which would mean this was double-billed). I intend to complain on the basis that two of the items said to be covered by the fee - internet service and newspaper - were not available. Though I’ve never before disputed a credit card charge, I’m strongly considering this.
I find it amazing that this is evidently now considered a good way to do business. I’d go out of my way to avoid this sort of treatment, and I suspect I’m not alone in that.
Don’t hesitate to holler and see what happens.
I just got one removed a few months back in Reno, but I can’t remember the details.
However, for the Excalibur in Vegas, I must say I’d be surprised, particularly if you are just another conventioneer without any other significance to them (no offense meant). Worth a shot, though. I’m pretty sure if you can’t get it removed just by complaining, you can’t get it removed making a bigger stink. They either want to please you, or not.
I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the “Internet did not work” card. If your group booked a number of rooms, it will be much easier to get your personal charge off by having your people holler. And I commend pressing the issue even if it does not come directly out of your pocket. Hoorah for a non-pushover.
None taken - you are quite right about this. I’ll probably be headed to the SHOT show (always in LV) for the next few years, so had they done a great job I’d be inclined to return. But in reality they’re probably better off by screwing me out of $56.
I’ve never been assessed a “resort [or other] fee” I’m unaware of. Online booking is a wonderful convenience, but sometimes the phone is better–I’ve been able to uncover hidden fees and such by calling the toll-free number rather than filling out online forms. I ask, “Is that price inclusive of all taxes and fees?” and they tell me yes or no. In the case of “no,” I go on to ask what the bottom-line price is per night, and they tell me. If a breakdown of taxes and fees seems required, I’ll again ask; and again, they tell me. Sometimes, it’s best to speak with a real person, rather than just plugging parameters into a field.
That being said, I’d agree with the others–if certain goods and services were included in the “resort fee,” but you did not receive them, then I’d say that you have a legitimate complaint against the “resort fee.” Take it up with the hotel first, and if you get no satisfaction there, look into recourses available through your credit card.