New bipartisan legislation aimed at cracking down on
deceptive resort fees has been introduced in Congress.
Backed by Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Jeff
Fortenberry (R-Nebraska), the Hotel Advertising Transparency Act of 2019 (H.R.
4489) would require hotels and other short-term lodging providers to display
the full, pre-tax price to consumers as they search and compare options.
"This bill would require that the prices advertised by
hotels and online travel agencies must include all mandatory fees that will be
charged to a consumer, excluding taxes," Johnson said in a statement. "It
is projected that in 2019, over $3 billion in revenue alone will be collected
from consumers due to these hidden fees. Consumers should be able to enjoy
their vacation without being ripped off and financially burdened."
If passed, the measure would be enforced by the Federal
Trade Commission and attorneys general from across the country under the Federal
Trade Commission Act.
According to a spokesperson from Johnson's office, the bill has
been assigned to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The committee will
be responsible for organizing a hearing on the bill, which is not expected to
occur until sometime next year.
The move comes as opposition to resort fees reaches a fever
pitch, with the District of Columbia attorney general filing a lawsuit against
Marriott International over "drip pricing'" in July.
Later that month, Hilton was hit with a similar suit by
Nebraska's attorney general, who accused the hotel giant of deceptive pricing
practices and "charging hidden resort fees to increase profits."