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Hidden 'resort fees' the target of class-action lawsuit

In 2012 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) notified 22 hotel companies that their websites "may violate the law by providing a deceptively low estimate of what consumers can expect to pay for their hotel rooms." The notification relates to undisclosed "resort fees," which were not being disclosed to consumers when their rooms were booked online.

Such mandatory resort fees are now the focus of a class-action lawsuit brought by a California man. He says that in June 2014 he booked a hotel room for three nights in Las Vegas at the Palazzo hotel. A booking website indicated that he would pay a nightly rate of $209, plus taxes and fees. However, when he got his receipt, he found a nightly "resort fee" of $28.

According to the man's lawsuit, "Nowhere in the reservation system page, including the price, is the resort fee specified." His suit accuses the Palazzo of false and misleading advertising.

Like hotels, airlines have also been known to hide fees, and the U.S. Department of Transportation regularly fines airlines that don't disclose the full amount of airfare. However, there are far fewer airlines than hotels in the United States, and the FTC would undoubtedly have a difficult time enforcing the disclosure law in every instance of hidden resort fees.

It is often up to consumers to take legal action and stop false advertising and other types of consumer fraud. If you believe you have been wronged by fraudulent business practices, then do not hesitate to speak with a consumer protection attorney.

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