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New Federal Legislation Takes Aim at Hidden Hotel Resort Fees

Look to your left! It's a $20 concert service fee! To your right, a $100 housing application fee! Flying above you is a hailstorm of tiny university fees adding up to $90,000, which you must pay back to your loan provider in increments while trying to live your life, raise kids, eat a decent meal, and take vacations and stay in hotels where they sneak up on you with -- yep, you guessed it -- resort fees!

But all hope is not lost, my tortured readers, because lawmakers in Congress also seems to be fed up with at leeeeastttt the resort fees. On Wednesday night, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Texas and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R) of Nebraska introduced bipartisan legislation dubbed the “Hotel Advertising Transparency Act of 2019." Their goal is to make resort fees illegal, according to a report by The Points Guy. Travel much, you two?

This is not the first time Congress has tried to do this. We saw it in 2016, too, because it's truly an injustice. If you don't frequent hotels and have no idea how significant this is, just picture this: You prepay online for a 5-day stay. It's already flippin' expensive, but at least it appears transparent. Until you arrive and the desk clerk says each night has a $20 "resort fee," so now the extra $200 you brought for a fancy night out with bae is just $100 for a couple of drinks and dishes at a nearby Chilis. SAD.

“This summer, we witnessed a record number of Americans take the opportunity to travel," Johnson said in a press release. "Unfortunately, this also meant a record number of travelers were subjected to deceptive hidden fees charged by hotels, motels, and other places of accommodation."

The bill states that advertising a cost of stay while omitting certain fees is not chill:

"No person with respect to whom the Federal Trade Commission is empowered under section 5(a)(2) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 I.S.C 45(a)(2)) may advertise in interstate commerce a rate for a place of short-term lodging that does not include all required fees, excluding taxes and fees imposed by a government."

In other words, resorts can't tell people their hotel rooms are X dollars a night and then charm them with smiley hospitality folks that request an additional arm and leg at check-in or check-out. 

“It is projected that in 2019, over three billion dollars in revenue alone will be collected from consumers due to these hidden fees," said Johnson. "Consumers should be able to enjoy their vacation without being ripped off and financially burdened. 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.”

At this point, we're not sure if the bill will advance. So ~call your congressperson~ if this is an issue close to your heart and, I guess, ~write a review on Yelp~ if you're screwed over at a hotel.

But, regardless of the fees, always, alwaystip your hotel housekeeper.

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer for Thrillist.