10 Worst Hotel Rip-Offs

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on November 11, 2013. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Ed Perkins, hotel, scam.

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Airlines aren't the only outfits in the industry that overcharge travelers. Hotels, too, are guilty. And as hotel managers look enviously at airlines successfully charging fees for everything, the hotel situation will probably get worse, not better.


Fortunately, you can avoid most of the worst rip-offs by opting out of whatever the charge might be. Sadly, however, the trade-off for avoiding a rip-off is often an inconvenience, which is undoubtedly the reason hotels can still get away with many of them. Here are the 10 worst rip-offs that you should watch out for when staying at hotels.

Resort Fees and Other Mandatory Charges

Mandatory fees are worse than simple rip-offs—they're outright scams. Hotels, especially in popular tourist areas like Hawaii and Las Vegas, advertise artificially reduced lowball prices, then increase costs with additional fees after the initial purchase. The fees can run from only a few dollars to as high as $50 per night at expensive places—which is certainly enough to distort your search for the best hotel deal.

Don't be fooled by the laundry list of amenities supposedly covered by those fees. If the fee is mandatory, it's part of the price. This scam calls for legal action, but so far the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has failed in its duty to protect the public, and online travel agencies (OTAs) haven't stepped up to their responsibilities to provide honest all-up price listings either, which they clearly could be doing.

Work-Around: Effectively none. If you want to stay on Waikiki, in Vegas, or in many other prime tourist areas, you have to pay. Often, just pinning down these fees requires a hassle you don't need—and shouldn't have to face.

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