What if a store advertised a refrigerator for $600 and when you showed up to buy it the cashier added a $50 store admission fee and told you it was to cover your parking, bathroom privileges and the right to use your cell phone in the store.
You’d be outraged. Maybe you’d call the state consumer protection department.
So why do hotels get away with essentially the same thing?
I’m talking about the hotel resort fee, originally imposed only by very posh hotels, often per person, to cover the use of the pools, tennis courts and other amenities. Sometimes the fee was even optional, and you could skip it if you didn’t want to use the amenities in question.
This has changed. More and more hotels, including many that have no right to call themselves resorts, impose a mandatory, per room fee that may cover such routine amenities as parking, Internet access and discounted phone calls — whether you use those services or not.
This is not a fee for an optional service. It’s part of the base rate disguised as a fee so that the hotel can advertise a lower rate.
It’s deceptive and sneaky and wrong. And I think I know why hotels can get away with it and your local appliance store can’t.
When travelers get tricked and scammed, they’re out of their own jurisdictions. There’s no political advantage to a legislature or attorney general who takes the side of the traveler against the travel industry and its local representatives.
So get used to the abuse folks, read the fine print before you book and try to reward those hotels that refuse to adopt this pernicious practice.