MGM Resorts Sued Over Alleged Deceptive Resort Fees
MGM Resorts International is currently being sued for charging what one group is calling deceptive resort fees.
In Las Vegas, as well as around the world, it is not uncommon to pay resort fees when staying at a casino resort or a hotel. Extra charges are expected such as parking, property usage fees, etc. However, any extra charges are supposed to be detailed to the individual. MGM Resorts International is now facing a lawsuit by Travelers United after the non-profit travel advocacy group says the fees charged by the company were deceptive.
Violation of Consumer Protection Laws
According to the lawsuit filing, MGM Resorts is in violation of the Consumer Protection Procedures Act, in D.C. The operator offers gaming near the capital city at MGM National Harbor in Maryland. Travelers United Council Lauren Wolfe said this week that the resort fees are a clear violation of the consumer protection laws in D.C.
She stated further that illegal resort fees issued by the hotel industry need to cease now. The attorney says that any hotel fees that a traveler must pay should be included in the advertised price for it to be a legalized transaction. She says MGM was deceptive in its charges by not including fees in advertised pricing.
Travelers United is accusing MGM of profiting in the hundreds of millions within the past ten years by using ‘drip pricing’. This is when a portion of the daily rate is hidden in the resort fees paid by the consumer. The group did not publish a statement on the matter until MGM was served legal papers.
The website of MGM states that the resort fee is a daily charge and it covers the use of amenities that enhance the guest experience. This includes local and toll-free calling, high speed internet, fitness center access and more. The fees range from $15 to $45 each day.
No Change in Charges
Travelers United says that once the COVID-19 pandemic began in the US and amenities were cut from the MGM property, the charges remained. The company never lowered the price of resort fees. If the fees are connected to amenities, they should have been removed when the amenities were no longeron offer.
Back in 2012, the Federal Trade Commission warned businesses that price dripping could be in violation of federal consumer protection law. However, the issue remained in D.C. as well as across the US.
On top of the consumer issue, Travelers United is also claiming taxpayers are affected by the fees paid when government officials stay at the hotel while on the job. Apparently, such officials are charged the fees as well which is paid from consumer taxes.
It is well-known that this practice is done by operators everywhere. Travelers United decided to take on MGM because the National Harbor casino is located near D.C. As of right now, the group does not have plans to file a lawsuit against other resort or hotel operators.
Should MGM be held accountable? Do travelers even notice the hidden fees when booking a hotel stay? For the most part, travelers inquire about the full price before booking to be aware of how much they will be charge. However, for some, they just pay and go about their trip.
The Travelers group is trying to make things fair for the consumer, which is understandable. It will be interesting to see if the lawsuit gains any headway and if any changes are made by MGM or other operators due to the filing. Other hotel providers, including casinos, may decide to rethink their fees to avoid any type of similar lawsuit in the future.
Will MGM change its policies? Does the lawsuit have enough ground to stand on to force the company to change? Only time will tell.