Californian sues Strip resorts, alleges hidden resort fees

A Southern California man has filed a class-action federal lawsuit against The Venetian and Palazzo alleging the Strip resorts charge hidden resort fees.

Benjamin Brin of Studio City, Calif., alleges in the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles earlier this month, that The Venetian and Palazzo do not inform guests of the fees when they book rooms online at the resorts.

He is suing the two resorts, which use the same online reservation system, and their operating company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., for false and misleading advertising and is seeking damages.

Brin booked a three-night stay at The Venetian on June 9, 2014, at an advertised nightly room rate of $209, but learned after he made the reservation that he was being charged an extra $28 a night, the suit says.

The advertised rate online is not accurate, the lawsuit alleges.

“Below each nightly rate, small print text states, “excluding taxes and fees,” the suit says. “These taxes and fees are not specified.”

According to the lawsuit, the online reservation system used a deceptive advertising technique that the Federal Trade Commission warned against in a letter to hotels in 2012.

“Specifically, the FTC warned that excluding resort fees from the quoted reservation price may violate the law by misrepresenting the price consumers can expect to pay for their hotel rooms,” the lawsuit says.

The suit seeks class-action status alleging that there are “hundreds or thousands” of California customers who have made online reservations at The Venetian and Palazzo “who have been charged resort fees under this unlawful pricing technique.”

A Las Vegas Sands spokesman declined to comment Wednesday on Brin’s litigation.

It is not uncommon for Las Vegas hotels to charge resort fees that cover such things as Internet access, telephone service and access to pools and gyms.

The Las Vegas Sands prevailed in a 2012 class-action suit against it involving resort fees. That lawsuit is under federal appeal.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Find him on Twitter: @JGermanRJ

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