Look Out For Hidden Resort Fees When Booking Rooms

Kevin is annoyed that Priceline’s “Name Your Price” feature fails to take resort fees into account. In his case, such extra charges tacked on $19 a night to the $45 he agreed to pay for his room.

He writes:

Just this last weekend I booked a room through Priceline’s “Name Your Price” service. I was looking for a decent place stay at a decent price. I bid $45/night for a 4 star hotel, and was booked at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center. Upon arrival I was notified that I would have to pay an additional $19 per day for services such as Internet, a newspaper, and use of the gym. I informed the front desk manager and clerk that I would not need any of those services and that I would like to decline to pay. Long story short, I got a condescending speech about how priceline works, and that I could either pay the fee, or lose out on the original $45/night for three nights plus fees. I reluctantly checked in to the resort because my only other option was to spend even more money on another hotel reservation.

The next day I wrote to Priceline’s customer service and got a generic message stating that since it’s stated in fine print somewhere on the site that there was nothing they could do.

It then turned out that I needed to stay two more days, I (stupidly) tried Priceline again, and was very careful with my request, I selected a 3 star hotel (making sure not to select “resorts”) and entered $30 per night. Once again.. I was put at a resort. This resort had a $15/day resort fee. I contacted customer service once again stating that I did not select “resorts” in my search. They informed me that when a higher rated room is available at the rate that you bid, they will automatically upgrade you. How nice of them.

My complaint is that resorts are abusing the Priceline system by offering a ridiculously low rate on Priceline, and then charging extra “fees” when you actually get there to make up the difference. This is a scam, and needs to be stopped.

I’ve used Priceline several times in the last year and never had this problem before. It’s a shame I’ll have to book my rooms elsewhere now.

It’s doubtful this issue is restricted to Priceline. Even if you book directly through hotels, automatic extra fees give you a Ticketmaster-like experience.

When you’re booking hotels, which services do you find give you the most accurate prices?

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.