Washington, D.C. sues Marriott. Marriott is going through a lot lately. The District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine announced on Tuesday that he has sued Marriott International Inc for misleading consumers and allegedly profiting hundreds of millions of dollars by charging hidden resort fees.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court after an investigation conducted by all 50 state attorneys general.
According to the lawsuit, Marriott doesn’t include mandatory resort fees in the room rates it displays online. Consumers only discover the fees after they begin to book a room. They may also be called “amenity fees” or “destination fees.”
“Marriott reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in profit by deceiving consumers about the true price of its hotel rooms,” the AG 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.
Marriott International is also facing fines in the UK. The company said on Tuesday it will face a $ 124 million fine from the UK data protection agency for for the hacking of its Starwood hotel chain database.
In November, the group revealed that Starwood’s reservation system had been intruded since 2014, a piracy of which up to 383 million people may have been victims. Marriott said it took steps to stop it.
“We are disappointed with this notification of intent by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which we will challenge,” Marriott general manager Arne Sorenson said in a statement.
This fine is one of the most important recommended to date by the ICO.
On Monday, the ICO had already announced it would fine 183.4 million pounds (201.6 million euros) to IAG, parent company of British Airways, for stealing data from the airline’s website .
Since March, at least five US states have also been investigating the hacking of Starwood hotels, exposing the group to potentially large fines.
Marriott share, for which JPMorgan reduced its recommendation of “overweight” to “neutral”, fell by nearly 2% on Wall Street around 14:30 GMT after the announcement of the fine.