In a bid to enhance transparency and protect consumers from unexpected costs, U.S. Representatives Young Kim and Kathy Castor have introduced the No Hidden Fees on Extra Expenses for Stays (No Hidden FEES) Act of 2023.
The proposed legislation, H.R 6543, aims to eliminate deceptive pricing practices in the short-term lodging industry, including hotels, motels, and inns, by prohibiting misleading advertising and mandating the inclusion of all compulsory fees in the listed prices.
This move comes at a time when Americans are grappling with high inflation rates, making budgeting for travel more challenging. The No Hidden FEES Act is a response to the widespread practice of adding unexpected charges to lodging bills, which can significantly inflate the final cost for consumers. These additional charges, often labeled as ‘resort fees’ or ‘mandatory fees,’ are typically not included in the advertised price, leading to a lack of clarity and increased financial strain on travelers.
Rep. Kim emphasized the bill’s importance, stating that transparent pricing is essential for families to manage their travel expenses effectively. She expressed her commitment to making life more affordable for families in Southern California and across the nation.
Echoing this sentiment, Rep. Castor highlighted the particular impact of hidden fees on tourists and residents in vacation destinations like Florida. She criticized the detrimental effects of these charges on consumers, competition, and the broader economy.
The proposed legislation has garnered support from industry stakeholders, including the American Hotel Lodging Association (AHLA). AHLA’s President and CEO, Chip Rogers, expressed gratitude for the leadership shown by Reps. Kim and Castor. He noted that the No Hidden FEES Act would create a uniform standard for fee disclosure, benefiting consumers and leveling the playing field for lodging providers and distributors.
The bill has also received praise from the Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who underscored the importance of honest advertising in the lodging industry. She commended Rep. Kim’s efforts towards ensuring that consumers are not misled by hidden costs.
If passed, the No Hidden FEES Act will require all mandatory and resort fees to be included in the advertised price of lodging. This legislative effort aims to ensure that consumers have a clear understanding of the true cost of their accommodations, allowing for more informed decision-making and preventing post-booking sticker shock.
The bill’s introduction is timely as holiday travel peaks and consumers navigate the complexities of budgeting for trips. The transparency and fairness that the No Hidden FEES Act seeks to provide could significantly ease the financial burden on millions of Americans, making it a critical step towards consumer protection in the travel industry.