Attorney General Paxton has entered into a settlement with Marriott International, Inc. (“Marriott”) to ensure that the global hotel company properly discloses “resort fees” and other hidden costs to consumers in its advertisements and during the room booking process.
“My office has worked diligently to ensure that hotel chains and other companies in the travel industry are completely transparent with consumers,” said Attorney General Paxton. “In recent years, travelers have been caught by surprise with costs much higher than the room rates they believed they had booked. Because of this settlement, Marriott will take additional steps to guarantee that the advertised cost of rooms is representative of what consumers will be charged. Marriott is now taking proactive steps to promote price transparency. In contrast, other major hotel chains have defended their deceptive practices, and they will be facing the full force of the law for their actions.”
This settlement will prohibit Marriott from engaging in unlawful, unfair, and deceptive trade practices in violation of Texas law with respect to the advertising of hotel room prices. These terms include a requirement that Marriott disclose clearly and conspicuously all “resort fees” and the total price of rooms as the most prominently displayed price, display room reservation search results for rooms by total price on its website, list “resort fees” separately from taxes or other governmental or imposed fees, and disclose clearly and conspicuously the goods and services covered by such fees.
While Marriott is working to address concerns about these undisclosed mandatory fees, a number of hotel chains have thus far not taken the same steps to inform consumers of the true costs of rooms. Attorney General Paxton recently announced a lawsuit against Hyatt for violating Texas consumer protection laws by charging consumers expensive mandatory and unavoidable fees in addition to daily room rates.
To read the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (“AVC”), click here.