One Simple Way to Reclaim That Resort Fee Which You Paid

“Would like more information on reclaiming resort fees as referenced in Section 4, please” is what Txrus — who is a reader of The Gateasked in the Comments section of this article pertaining to four reasons why mandatory resort fees may finally be disappearing, in which I asked, “Did you know that attorneys general in many states in the United States — but not Nevada, in which the practices is widespread in cities such as Las Vegas — have reportedly said that the practice of implementing mandatory resort fees is unlawful; and that guests can reclaim resort fees?”

One Simple Way to Reclaim That Resort Fee Which You Paid

You only need to spend as few as 60 seconds worth of your time and effort to likely reclaim the mandatory resort fees which you paid when you stayed at a hotel or resort property which had the audacity to charge them.

“Many people have successfully gotten back their resort fees by filing a consumer complaint with their Attorney General”, according to this article written by Lauren Wolfe — who is a licensed attorney in both the District of Columbia and the state of Michigan — of Kill Resort Fees. “Many people have successfully worked with their Attorney General after filing a consumer complaint to force the hotel to mail them a check back for their resort fee.”

The National Association of Attorneys General — which helps the 56 state and territory attorneys general enforce existing laws pertaining to consumer protection and fulfill the responsibilities of their offices and assists in the delivery of high quality legal services — “is slowly but surely coming up with the legal rationale for forcing hotels to include room rates with mandatory fees into one cost for an overnight stay”, according to this article written by Charlie Leocha, who is the chairman and founder of Travelers United, which is an advocacy membership organization that represents all travelers. “The ponderous legal actions are moving at what appears to be a glacial speed, but are important in the collection and research upon which legal decisions are made.”

Karl Racine and Doug Peterson — who are the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and the state of Nebraska, respectively — have been leading an investigation which questions the use of hidden mandatory hotel fees by Marriott International, Incorporated and the hotel and resort properties of other lodging companies. Launched on Thursday, June 7, 2017, 45 other state attorneys general have joined the investigation into the use of resort fees by hotel and resort properties to disguise the true room rate.

Subpoenas have been filed; and follow-up actions have been in process for almost three years. Leocha believes that anecdotal reports indicate that the research conducted by the National Association of Attorneys General is in the process of concluding — and that findings will finally be released soon.

List of Attorneys General in the United States

As a total of 47 attorneys general are currently investigating mandatory resort fees which are charged by hotel and resort properties — Nevada is one of the four which is reportedly not working with consumers in this initiative — direct links to file a complaint with the attorney general in each state and the District of Columbia are listed below for your convenience:

Summary

According to the aforementioned article written by Lauren Wolfe, you “can file a complaint with the Attorney General of the state you stayed in or with your own state Attorney General (if you live in another state and booked the hotel while sitting at home).”

Wolfe has apparently experienced a success rate of 100 percent on reclaiming the two resort fees she ever paid; but I have not tried this method myself because I very rarely ever stay in a hotel or resort property which charges these nefarious mandatory fees.

Please let me know by posting in the Comments section below if any of the aforementioned provided links need to be changed or edited; and also please let me know by posting in the Comments section below if you want any links to consumer complaint forms added to the list outside of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.

Finally, please let me know if you have successfully tried this method of recovering resort fees after you have paid them by posting your experience in the Comments section below.

That I vehemently oppose the implementation of mandatory resort fees, facilities fees and now destination fees is no secret to you if you have been a reader of The Gate for years — they should either be optional or eliminated altogether — and I will just let this extensive body of work over the years pertaining to mandatory resort fees speak for me…

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

41 thoughts on “One Simple Way to Reclaim That Resort Fee Which You Paid”

  1. Txrus says:

    Puerto Rico?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I added Puerto Rico, Txrus — as well as Guam and the Virgin Islands.

      Thank you.

  2. Enjoy Fine Food says:

    Thanks for doing all the detail work. The link for my state (Ohio) looks simple enough.

    Appreciate Wolfe’s info that you can file in either the “state you stayed in or with your own state Attorney General (if you live in another state and booked the hotel while sitting at home).” Or maybe I should do both.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I cannot imagine why you cannot do both, Enjoy Fine Food.

      If you do, please let me know what happened.

  3. Jason says:

    Is there a sample letter we can use to help simplify filing the complaint?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I do not know of any sample letter off-hand, Jason — but if you do decide to go this route, keep it short and sweet while including all of the pertinent details.

      Shall I either create a sample letter or ask someone about that?

      1. Mae says:

        Yes a sample letter would be great, thanks!

      2. Jim F. says:

        Great information, Brian but I do think a sample letter (which has worked!) would be a valued addition.

      3. Jason says:

        Would be helpful for those of us who arent the best writers

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          To you, Jason — as well as to Jim F., Karen and Mae — let me see what I can do.

          Because I personally have not complained to the office of an attorney general myself, I want to ensure that the language of the communication is as effective as possible.

          Also, I am not an attorney; so I also want to avoid any legal ramifications…

          1. escot says:

            COP OUT!!! You’re here telling folks that the process is simple, that it’s easy, that one of your un-dated, poorly sourced articles claims 100% success every time she’s tried (all of TWO TIMES)….. And then after all that, you say, well, I’m not a lawyer, and in case this doesn’t work, or if say, hotels start counter-suing…. you don’t want to be held responsible…. and sooooo….. when push comes to shove, you’re almost as bad as the nefarious types charging the resort fees.

            PS: One suggestion you COULD do easily would be to put DATES on ALL your posts….. (and insist on using sources with dates of publication on them too) As it is, your web site looks suspiciously like you’re trying to create a movement out of thin air…. (with post after post quoting each other)

          2. Brian Cohen says:

            Every article at The Gate since August of 2006 has a date automatically stamped as to when it was posted, escot.

            Thank you for the suggestion.

  4. Ollie says:

    Thanks for writing this post. It inspired me to write one for a recent hotel stay in California. Will let you know what results I receive!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I look forward to your update, Ollie.

      1. Ollie says:

        Wow. That was quick. I received a call from the hotel today (that’s within seven days of filing!) offering a refund. I’m very impressed this worked. I told her I was grateful, but that the main reason I filed was to protest against the industry practice of resort fees. It sounded like I wasn’t the first person to say this. Hopefully enough people will do this to make a difference in their practices. Thanks again Brian for suggesting this.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          Thank you, Ollie, for making my day by imparting that excellent news.

          I am absolutely thrilled for you after reading about your experience.

  5. Karen says:

    Can you provide suggested language to include in the complaint?

  6. ES says:

    Great info! I wonder if just mentioning the issue at the desk when you check in/check out could get the fees removed on the spot? For example, spoken very sweetly, “I know you are just implementing the hotel’s policy, but there is a serious question about the legality of these fees and if I have to pay them, I will file a complaint with the Attorney General of your state and my state. Currently 47 states are looking into it and Marriott is being sued.” I can’t help but think that the front desk folks, who typically have a decent amount of leverage to disappear items on one’s bill, may just waive them on the spot.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You can definitely mention the issue when you check in to the hotel or resort property, ES.

      I know this because I have personal experience with doing that myself; and as a result in a matter of minutes, I have had the mandatory resort fee either reduced or eliminated altogether.

      That information is for yet another article which I am working on pertaining to mandatory resort fees…

    2. Sullivan Maureen says:

      Stayed at the Best Western Plus in New Orleans and was charged a $30 resort fee. Interestingly, there were no ‘resort’ amenities available n this very urban, downtown hotel. Thinking I will try to get it refunded even though it was four months ago. Thanks for the info.

    3. Ma Barker says:

      Stayed at the Fairfield Inn Manhattan Times Square 6D/5N early June. Upon check-in, the clerk tacked in a $400 resort fee that I noticed on the 2nd day. I inquired at the desk about it since I paid with points. The manager said not to worry and it’ll be taken off. When we checked-out, I got a receipt I paid in full. I continued to monitor the pending charge and it just fell off.

      I’m glad I didn’t have to fight about removal of resort fee on a hotel that’s not a resort. I’ll continue to be vigilant for unknown charges tacked in by hotels.

  7. Barry Graham says:

    I had my resort fees waived both times in New York just by asking. It may have helped that I have status. Getting Government involved is a good idea even if the hotel refunds on the spot. However involving government in the actual request for a refund should be the last resort (no pun intended).

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Actually, Barry Graham, the last resort for a refund of a mandatory resort fee is filing a lawsuit — certainly not something I would recommend lightly or at all in most cases — but that is for a future article.

  8. John Sousa says:

    $65.00 a night at the Westin Grand Cayman. I saw it once on the web site and then as hard as I look, I can no longer find it. Maybe my Ambassador can help me….

  9. Gay says:

    When, oh when will this be available for airlines that charge extra for a seat? What is the ticket if not for a seat on the plane?

    1. Barry Graham says:

      I don’t know of any airline that charges extra for a seat. They do charge extra for better seats or to choose which one and I have no objection to that unless it prevents parties sitting together.

    2. Brian Cohen says:

      That is an excellent question, Gay — but I was thinking more about those inexplicable “carrier-imposed fees”, which is essentially the airline version of mandatory resort fees.

      1. Barry Graham says:

        Ah yes, like the fuel surcharges between the UK and US, which result in award tickets costing hundreds of dollars. That is the airline equivalent of a resort fee except that, unlike the resort fees, they don’t even claim that they add extra value, they just add them.

  10. This is great! I’ve bookmarked this article so I can easily complain to the appropriate AG office the next time I’m hit with a resort fee. Thanks!

  11. Mike says:

    I just did this recently and successfully got $100 back for 2 nights at the Venetian.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is excellent news, Mike! Thank you for posting your experience.

      I hope more readers of The Gate check in with more success stories of receiving the money back for the resort fees which they were forced to pay.

  12. jc smith says:

    Long story short, bought a Hilton Worldwide Holiday in Hawaii, $600 paid in advance includes 5 nites/4 days and car. Several months later went to actually schedule the dates, I was informed that at the hotel there was a $22 dollar a day parking charge and $18 per day for wi-fi (I am an advanced honors member and should get free). So $40 dollars a day extra. This was never disclosed and it was non-refundable. I called a VP at Hilton and was given a full refund within 24 hours. They were rude about the process but did refund the trip and I did not go. Interestingly, I have not stayed in a Hilton since.

  13. Bob says:

    US customers only?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is a good question, Bob.

      Let me see if I can find out the answer for you…

  14. txrus says:

    “Mike says:
    June 21, 2019 at 8:50 am
    I just did this recently and successfully got $100 back for 2 nights at the Venetian.”

    Mike-can you share the wording you used on your submission?

  15. Bear says:

    Thanks for this info

  16. Sakshi Shah says:

    Is there a sample letter we can use to help simplify filing the complaint?

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