Attorney General Mike Hilgers Announces Series of Settlements Aimed at Preventing Hidden Hotel Fees
January 30, 2024
Lincoln — Today, Attorney General Mike Hilgers announced that his office has reached a settlement with Hilton Hotels regarding the disclosure of hidden mandatory fees. The settlement is the latest in a series of Nebraska settlements with major hotel chains, including Marriott, Omni, and Choice, which have all agreed to alter their business practices.
Over the years, travelers have been misled by the published rates offered by hotels for a night’s stay only to learn later on of hidden “resort fees” and other “mandatory fees.” With these settlements, Hilton, Marriott, Omni, and Choice have committed to making their pricing practices more transparent and disclosing mandatory fees to consumers, allowing consumers to accurately compare the total price of their hotel stays.
These settlements are part of a multi-year investigation into the practice commonly known as “drip pricing.” Under drip pricing, many hotel chains and online travel agencies gradually disclose fees to consumers as they proceed through the booking process. Customers often don’t learn the total price of their booking—room rate plus mandatory fees—until the last page in their online booking, or sometimes until they check into the hotel. In 2019, the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office sued Hilton, arguing that such a pricing model was deceptive, unfair, and a violation of Nebraska’s consumer protection laws.
Through these settlements, the hotel chains have committed to prominently disclose the total price of a hotel stay, including room rate and all other mandatory fees, on the first page of their booking websites as part of the total room rate. The hotel chains have also agreed to make the room rate the most prominently displayed price, to include required fees when a consumer sorts by price (allowing for appropriate comparison shopping), and to provide additional information about what amenities are covered by mandatory fees. Under the settlement with Hilton, the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office will also receive $300,000 for attorney’s fees and costs. These settlements will benefit not only the residents of Nebraska but also consumers nationwide.
Nebraska’s settlement with Hilton was filed in the Lancaster County District Court. Previous settlements with Omni, Choice, and Marriott were filed last fall.
To obtain information about how to protect yourself as a consumer, file a consumer complaint, or report a scam, please visit the Nebraska Attorney General’s consumer website at www.protectthegoodlife.nebraska.gov or call (800) 727-6432.