Money Matters: Beware of hotel fees

January 27, 2017 01:30

Sponsored by NEFE

When you stay at a hotel, you can always expect to see the cost of the room itself, along with various state and local sales taxes. If you order room service or take something from the mini-bar, those charges are self-explanatory. But beyond that, there can be other charges and fees that show up on your final bill that aren't always clear. In an effort to increase profits, many hotels have fees for all sorts of things that can add up quickly. For example, budget hotels often provide internet access for free, while higher-end establishments may charge you to connect at higher speeds. Using the in-room safe might carry a charge. And there can be many more. Sometimes, a confirmation email from the hotel will include notices about mandatory fees, but you might have to search the fine print to find them.

As Consumer Reports explains, an important first step to to ask about fees as you make your reservation, either online or over the phone. Get the name and ID number of the reservation agent in case there are questions later. Educate yourself about possible fees you might encounter, such as internet charges, cancelation fees, telephone surcharges, automatic gratuities and baggage handling fees. The hotel might also charge you to receive and deliver a package. Once those charges are on the bill, it can be difficult to have them removed, and some hotels train their staff on how to respond to requests to remove charges.

To help your readers/listeners/viewers learn more about hotel fees, talk with hotel managers in your area who can explain their fee structures. You can also check with your state's attorney general or Better Business Bureau to find out if there have been complaints about hidden fees at hotels and chains.

Sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education
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