Hotel fees can sneak up on you

SAN ANTONIO – When Liz Gabay checked out of her hotel after visiting her daughter, she got a surprise on her bill. It included a daily charge for an in-room safe.

“It’s totally sneaky,” Gabay said. “If it costs extra for them to put a safe in your room, build that in. Let me know up front. I won’t feel so taken advantage of.”

She’s not alone. When Consumer Reports asked readers about their experiences with hotel fees, they were swamped with complaints.

“Hotels know that consumers are shopping for hotel rooms by price, so they try to keep their advertised price low, but then still make up the revenue on the back end with fees,” said Margot Gilman, money editor for Consumer Reports.

To avoid sticker shock, CR recommends reaching out to the hotel directly and asking about additional charges for anything other than room and taxes.

If you plan on checking in early or checking out late, that may cost you extra. Parking can also be a surprise budget-buster. Other surprises can be resort fees or utility fees.

If you join a hotel loyalty program, you may find some of the fees are waived.

Also, don’t be afraid to speak up. When Gabay complained that she never even opened the safe, the hotel immediately removed the charge.

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