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ASTA Advocates for Consumer Transparency in Travel Fees

ASTA Advocates for Consumer Transparency in Travel Fees

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has weighed in on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) proposed rulemaking to curb unfair or deceptive practices related to fees for goods or services. ASTA’s focus is on “junk fees” commonly imposed by hotels and short-term lodging services, which can mislead consumers about the total cost.

In a letter to the FTC, ASTA expressed strong support for transparency, emphasizing its role in advocating for both travel agencies and consumers. Peter N. Lobasso, Senior Vice President & General Counsel at ASTA, highlighted the benefits the proposed rule could bring to consumers, particularly in the hotel and short-term lodging sector.

The practice of charging mandatory resort fees has faced increased scrutiny, mainly from state regulators and enforcement agencies. Despite this, the practice remains prevalent in the industry, with ASTA noting inconsistencies in how these fees are disclosed to consumers. ASTA called for a uniform approach to disclosure, ensuring that consumers receive complete pricing information upfront.

ASTA also sought clarity on penalty provisions, particularly in cases where intermediaries are involved. The organization argued that intermediaries acting in good faith should not be held liable for errors in fee information provided by lodging providers.

With travel agencies responsible for billions of dollars in hotel bookings annually, ASTA’s comments underscore the importance of fair and transparent pricing practices in the travel industry.