• Hotels accused of hiding fees until you book, or even later

    By: Jason Stoogenke


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Some hotels show you one price up front, and then tack on fees right before you book the reservation.

    "It still irks me"

    The Thomases travel about five times each year. They're used to fees popping up right before they book a hotel or even when they check out.

    "If it's $350, it ends up being 450 [dollars]," Laura Thomas said. But that doesn't make them feel any better about it.

    "It still irks me, even though I know a resort fee's coming," Jim Thomas said.

    NC examples

    It also irks consumer groups.

    "I think it's pretty plain and simple. If there's a fee that you are required to pay, it should be included in the price and anything else is an attempt to mislead the public," said Ben Hammer, with Travelers United. 

    He came to Charlotte to show Action 9's Jason Stoogenke examples of North Carolina hotels adding fees. 

    Grove Park Inn

    One example is Asheville's famous Grove Park Inn. Hammer and Stoogenke had to go through five screens on the Grove Park's website until they finally saw the hotel's resort fee: $50 per night. 

    Stoogenke asked Omni -- which runs the Grove Park Inn -- for its side of the story twice since July 24. He was still waiting for response.

    Hammer pointed out other examples: Sanderling Resort (Duck, North Carolina) charges a $25 resort fee per night. The Inn at Crestwood (Blowing Rock, North Carolina) charges a $15 fee per night. Stoogenke found both of those reveal that fee very early on in the booking process.

    Many North Carolinians may run into these fees when they travel to popular vacation destinations in other states. The website http://www.resortfeechecker.com keeps an eye on fees in Arizona, California, Florida and Hawaii. 

    Groups ask government to crack down

    Now, Travelers United and the North Carolina Consumers Council are asking N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper to crack down on hotels that don't reveal the true price up front.

    "If you say to a consumer you're going to charge him one thing and then you charge him another, that's a problem," Cooper said. "But there are a lot of nuances and issues of contract that fall in between."

    So his team is looking at each case individually.

    Two U.S. senators recently sent a letter, asking the Federal Trade Commission to go after hotels that hide resort fees, saying "the problem has only gotten worse." CLICK HERE to read the letter.

    • CLICK PLAY: Jason Stoogenke has advice on what to do about resort fees

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