A junk fee reckoning is underway. Accor has joined Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt in changing their disclosure policies this year.
A class-action lawsuit against Accor, the Paris-based hotel giant, accuses it of having not disclosed so-called junk fees.
The suit, filed Friday by Travelers United, a consumer advocacy group, claims Accor did not obey D.C. laws that say residents must be able to compare prices fairly when shopping for products and services.
“When a consumer searched for a hotel on Accor’s website, Accor’s practice was to initially advertise a room rate that excluded junk fees, but then to add junk fees into the final charges a consumer was required to pay,” the suit alleges.
Around September, Accor began disclosing upfront all so-called mandatory “resort,” “destination,” and “urban experience” fees that any of its U.S. properties may charge. Until that change, online shoppers searching Accor’s sites and apps sometimes saw room rates that failed to display the full price after unavoidable fees.
The suit against Accor comes after Hyatt, Marriott, and MGM Resorts have responded to suits by U.S. state attorneys general by disclosing similar fees. In August, Sonesta, a U.S. hotel group that runs about 1,200 hotels, was hit with a similar suit by Travelers United.
The Accor suit argues that the way the hotel group displayed fees was illegal according to local consumer-protection laws. It also seeks to force Accor to pay back the “junk fee revenues” and pay “statutory penalties and punitive damages.”
Exhibit A, in the suit, was pricing for the Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square earlier this year. It alleges the room rate was listed as $229 per night on the first search results and that this price excluded an “urban experiences fee” of $34.79. The site and app only fully informed a consumer of the total costs on the final checkout page prior to completing a transaction.
The suit filed against Accor in D.C. Superior Court is embedded below.
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Photo credit: A lawsuit filed in December 2023 alleges that this Sofitel Washington, DC, Lafayette Square earlier this year failed to properly disclose an "urban experiences fee" of $34.79 in an online search. Source: Accor.