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Texas Sues Hyatt, Settles With Marriott Over Use Of Hidden Fees

The state of Texas is going after two of the nation’s largest hotel operators for allegedly duping customers into booking rooms with hidden fees.

Hyatt Hotels and Marriott International are the latest targets of state Attorney General Ken Paxton’s campaign for price transparency. Both companies have been accused of violating Texas’ consumer protection laws by misrepresenting room rates and preventing customers from shopping for the best deal.

Hyatt Regency Hotel in Austin, Texas

In a lawsuit filed earlier this week, the state accused Hyatt of marketing hotel rooms at prices that don’t clearly disclose fees. The practice has resulted in millions of dollars in fraudulent charges, the lawsuit alleges.

“These deceptive practices enabled Hyatt to advertise lodging at artificially low rates, and it must end immediately,” Paxton said in a statement. “I will not stand by while Texas consumers are taken advantage of by Hyatt or by any hotel chain that tries to get away with charging illegal hidden fees.”

A spokesperson for Hyatt declined to comment on pending litigation but told Bisnow that while its booking process is transparent, it plans to implement changes in the coming months.

"We have been actively working on enhancements to the guest booking experience through our display of rates, fees and inclusions," a spokesperson said via email.

The Hyatt litigation comes on the heels of Texas settling a similar suit with Marriott, in which Paxton accused the company of misrepresenting room rates. Marriott has denied the allegations but agreed to improve price transparency by prominently displaying all resort fees, according to Reuters.

"We have long been focused on ensuring that any resort/destination fees charged by hotels are separately and clearly stated," a Marriott spokesperson told Bisnow via email. "We have recently made changes to update our room rate display and further enhance the way these fees are disclosed."

Resort fees are advertised as helping to pay for amenities, like WiFi and gym access, though other included services — such as free photocopies — are used much less frequently. The practice has drawn the ire of prominent travel experts, including The Points Guy, who has publicly urged consumers and government regulators to push back on "out of control" resort fees.

This is not the first time operators have been held accountable for charging hidden fees. More than 10 years ago, the Federal Trade Commission warned 22 hotels that the practice may be illegal.

Marriott was sued by the District of Columbia in 2019 after an investigation conducted by all 50 attorneys general accused the company of deceptive pricing practices, per USA Today. Hilton and MGM Resorts International have also been the subjects of lawsuits claiming false advertising.

UPDATE, MAY 17, 1:30 P.M. CT: This story has been updated to include comments from representatives of Hyatt and Marriott.