Is This Flat Sales Tax Really a Mandatory Resort Fee in Disguise?

As I was compiling this database of hotel and resort properties which charge a mandatory resort fee, I could not help but look back on this article pertaining to a Rodeway Inn which charged a resort fee in addition to a room rate of $36.00 which I wrote on Sunday, 

Is This Flat Sales Tax Really a Mandatory Resort Fee in Disguise?

The resort fee for this hotel property was purportedly as high as $5.50 and as low as $3.39 back then, which was rather confusing…

…but as I looked at whether or not this particular Rodeway Inn still charges a resort fee — which is ludicrous as it already was — this is what appeared:

Click on the image for an enlarged view. Source: Choice Hotels.

The resort fee from 2010 is no longer there; but a “flat sales tax” of $2.50 appears instead in addition to the sales tax of 13 percent.

That may not be much of a big deal — after all, seeing more than one tax added to the base room rate is not at all unusual — but then, at another Rodeway Inn only four miles west on the same highway in the same city and same ZIP code…

Click on the image for an enlarged view. Source: Choice Hotels.

…notice how instead of a “flat sales tax” is a resort fee of $3.00.

That had me wondering: is the “flat sales tax” of the first Rodeway Inn really a mandatory resort fee in disguise — especially as both Rodeway Inn hotel properties appear to be located in the same jurisdiction?

Summary

A logical explanation for this finding must exist — regardless of the amount of money. A mandatory resort fee is voluntarily implemented by the individual hotel or resort property; whereas a flat sales tax is typically mandated by a government entity. Disguising a mandatory resort fee as a flat sales tax is misleading at best and potentially fraudulent.

If a hotel or resort property is going to charge a mandatory resort fee — which in and of itself is already misleading, as mandatory resort fees should be a part of the base room rate and not used by the hotel or resort property in order to advertise a deceptively low room rate, in my opinion — that is currently legally within the rights of management to do so…

…but further exacerbating the deception of customers — if that is what this particular Rodeway Inn hotel property is allegedly doing — is inexcusable and unacceptable, in my opinion; and if it is proven to be true, it must be stopped.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Is This Flat Sales Tax Really a Mandatory Resort Fee in Disguise?”

  1. DaninMCI says:

    Although they should be able to charge whatever junk fees they want I’d think telling someone that a fee is a “tax” would be illegal in some form. Personally, I’d rather get hit with a $3 room flat tax for staying at a Roadway Inn instead of actually paying a “resort” fee for a hotel in that brand #embarassing.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Something tells me you hit the nail right on the head, DaninMCI.

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