PGA National Resort & Spa Sued for Hiding its Daily “Resort Fee”

Have you ever felt unpleasantly surprised by those “daily resort fees” so popular now at some golf resorts.  I know that I have and it can be quite a jolt, particularly when checking out.  The practice certainly makes you want to avoid revisiting them.

For years now, the PGA National Resort & Spa of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida has allegedly been hiding the fact that it charges its guests a mandatory $25 per day resort fee and now it just got slapped with a $25 million lawsuit.  The resort apparently did not disclose in advance to customers who booked golf vacations over the Internet or by phone that they would also be charged an additional “resort fee” to cover such items as Internet access, a daily newspaper, access to the health club, and golf bag storage.

I am no authority as to whether or not that is legal, but the practice certainly lacks for customer-friendly approach to doing business.  It particularly leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth if a customer doesn’t even utilize any of the service for which they are being charged.

Why don’t the resorts disclose all their fees well in advance particularly when it is not an all-inclusive resort?  Or why don’t they simply bundle the fee into their room rates given that they are not optional?  Sometimes these fees can also include gratuities, which is particularly irksome to discover after you may have already been generous with your tipping.  And I have also noticed where different properties within the same chain may often have different policies regarding the waiving of resort fees, including who has the power to waive them.

When you are the victim of this disappointing practice and can’t get satisfaction on the spot, what can you do?  Short of taking legal action as has been done with the PGA National Resort & Spa, your next best option is to dispute the charge with your credit card company.  This puts the burden on the establishment to demonstrate that the fee was properly disclosed.  If they can’t do it, the credit card company will adjust the bill in your favor.  That said, the best procedure is to be aware of this potential fee and inquire when making your reservations.

So are resorts like PGA National greedy, stupid, or justified in not being more forthright with their additional mandatory charges?

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