Ask the Expert: "How Do I Protect My Group from Credit Card Surcharges?"

Jonathan Howe explains how to avoid an add-on hotel credit card fee.

As part of our ongoing Ask the Expert program, Connie, a meeting planner based in South Carolina, asks:

"Many hotels are now charging 2 to 5 percent on top of their guest room rate for payment by credit card for all rooms occupied. If the contract originally signed says 'no fees' or policies and procedures can be added that are not included in the contract unless required by local, state or government, can that protect groups from these credit card payment surcharges?"

To get an answer, we reached out to Jonathan Howe, president and senior and founding partner of Howe & Hutton Ltd. He shared this insight:

"It would be appropriate to include in your hotel contract, or for that matter with any other vendor, that the prices and fees quoted in the agreement shall not be increased. As an alternative, insist that no pricing changes may be made without your consent. A third alternative requires that any charges that are not disclosed at the time of booking, shall not be recoverable. 

"Exceptions could be items over which the property/vendor have no control such as state and local government taxes or fees that are imposed after the contract is signed. To not disclose a higher fee for credit card payment may run afoul of some state’s consumer protection laws."

To see more answers to planners' questions, click on the button below.

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And be sure to register for the upcoming webinar, "Ask the Attorney: New Trends in Hotel Contracts," in which Jonathan will answer planner questions live!

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