Sneaky hotel surcharges surprise consumers, help hotels compete

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 21 2012 5:16 p.m. MST

Upon check out, if there is any non-optional fee added that you didn't know about, you can say you specifically asked about extra fees and give the name of the person you spoke with. "You can't charge me for something when you said there was not going to be such a charge," Hanson would say.

Guests should expect the unexpected — even between different hotels in the same franchise. Fees are not brand specific, Hanson says. A guest could stay in a "Brand X" hotel on the east side of Manhattan on a Monday and have certain fees and surcharges, and then spend the next night at another "Brand X" hotel on the west side and have different fees and surcharges. They also can change frequently in the same hotel.

McInerney remembers when he was hit with an unexpected charge. He came back to the U.S. in 2001 for a conference after living in Asia.

"I got in at midnight," he says, "and I spoke at 9 a.m. in the morning and left at 9:30 a.m."

Even though he didn't use any of the resort amenities, his bill included a resort fee.

"And I was not too thrilled," he says, "because I didn't know it was going to be on there. It came as a shock. … But that was in 2001. Everybody is familiar with them now."

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