DC attorney general sues Marriott for 'deceptive and misleading pricing practices'

DC attorney general sues Marriott for 'deceptive and misleading pricing practices'
© Getty

Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine announced Tuesday that his office is suing the Marriott hotel chain, alleging that the company is involved in deceptive business practices.

In a statement on his website, Racine charged Marriott executives with hiding secret costs in "resort fees" that allow the company to display lower costs for rooms than what customers typically end up paying per night.

ADVERTISEMENT

Racine is asking that Marriott update its website to reflect the actual cost of rooms as well as pay back funds charged to "tens of thousands" of D.C. residents allegedly affected by the chain's business practices.

“Marriott reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in profit by deceiving consumers about the true price of its hotel rooms,” he said in a statement. “Bait-and-switch advertising and deceptive pricing practices are illegal. With this lawsuit, we are seeking monetary relief for tens of thousands of District consumers who paid hidden resort fees and to force Marriott to be fully transparent about their prices so consumers can make informed decisions when booking hotel rooms.”

According to the AG's press release, Marriott typically charges hidden "resort fees" or "destination fees" to customers without advances warning, charges that can amount anywhere from $9 per night to nearly $100.

"At least 189 Marriott properties worldwide charge these hidden fees," stated the press release, adding that "consumers only find out about these fees after they begin to book a room." Third-party sites as well as Marriott's own website do not alert users to the mandatory fees, according to Racine.

The hotel chain declined to comment to The Hill on Racine's accusations.