Sometimes in the hospitality industry, you can’t win for trying. Hilton Hotels is learning this lesson the hard way. Last week, a former guest commenced a class action suit in federal district court in California against the Hilton hotel group based on the fact that he was charged $.75 for a newspaper he received, but did not request. The suit alleges that the newspaper charge was fraudulent because it was disclosed in small print on the key-card sleeve, which he admittedly received upon check-in, and because the paper charge was not itemized on his bill at check out. The plaintiff, Rodney Harmon, asserts claims of Unfair Business Practices, Violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and Unjust Enrichment.
Of course the only winners in the suit, which seeks an injunction, monetary damages and legal fees, are the plaintiff’s attorneys who will seek huge class action counsel fees for a case that involves only nominal damages and questionable liability for the putative class.
It seems quite plausible that Hilton, in an attempt to accommodate guests who did not want a paper, came up with the system of providing a $.75 credit for those guests who affirmatively asked not to receive one. The deed has not gone unpunished as now Hilton must defend claims that it was intentionally deceiving customers by not itemizing the paper charge bill. It is these unique issues faced by the Hospitality industry that will be covered in depth at the upcoming Hospitality Seminar, Sept 22-23 in Scottsdale. Download the brochure describing the full breadth of topics covered and sign up today!