Drip Pricing Might Not Be Legal

(credit: CBS3)

(credit: CBS3)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - What’s drip pricing?

If you’ve ever booked a hotel for what seemed like a reasonable nightly price, you might have been surprised when, in addition to the room fee, your bill also had a newspaper charge. And a charge for the exercise facility. And for internet usage. By the time you’re done with what is known as “drip” pricing – not giving you the total fee you’ll be paying upfront but rather charging you additional bits for the service extras, you wind up paying a lot more than what was advertised.

It happens at hotels, resorts, restaurants, and of course auto sales. But is it illegal?

It might be, according to the Federal Trade Commission which sent warning letters to 22 hotel chains, telling them that online reservation sites might violate the law by providing deceptively low estimates of what consumers will actually wind up paying once all the fees are calculated.

What can you do?

First, be aware that the first price you see might not be your final price. Even after you’ve gone through the whole online reservation process only to see the total cost at the end, back out if it’s more than you expected when you first saw the original price. And, file a complaint with the FTC if you think the hotel thinks you’re a drip for falling for it.

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