Bogus Travel Expenses
There are a lot of hotels and companies out there with bogus and/or dishonest charges out there, and traveler beware. Most hotels give internet access for free, or they charge you a rental fee of an ethernet cord but is waived if you return it. However, The Crown Royale in Los Angeles wants $10/day for usage. Marriott in St. Thomas Virgin Islands wants $17/day. Let’s get real, if we are in “paradise” we are not in the hotel room 24 hours each day. We wake up, check our email, go to breakfast, beach, pool, lunch, come back, shower, maybe check email again, then head off to dinner. If we are night time people, we might surf the internet again before bed. So, for those 3 hours (maximum) why are they charging $17/day? Why not charge per minute or per hour like most legitimate businesses? The obvious answer is they are trying to rake and shake you for all the money they can. If I am there 3 nights, I have to pay a fee of $50 total to check email during the day of my stay? Really? This is when a BlackBerry or iPhone come in handy, but I’d much rather see them charge an extra $1/day for phone/internet than $17/day for internet users. Let’s face it, the internet was once entertainment and/or luxury, but now its replaced our typical home phone, postage, and/or cell phone bills. Its as common now in ANY country as much as hot water, telephone and electricity. It is not a basic requirement for living as much as a telephone or tv signal. Sure, we can survive without it, but the technology is not over 20 years old (on a mainstream consumer level), and over 30+ before it became a common consumer service. So why are we paying to what amounts to $500+/month for internet when we all know that is basically an utility bill like heat/electricity/car/healthcare etc? Its a scam, and while I would happily pay $5/day for internet access, I refuse to pay $17 for that service that I will use only ONCE a day for a few minutes before I go to sleep.
My last issue is with “tourist surcharge” — why am I paying $15+/day for being a tourist? Often I am working, I am not a tourist, but even if I live int the same town, city or count of that hotel, I am still paying $15/day for being a “tourist” — these hidden bogus charges most overlook but should be challenged. Really? I am coming into your city and spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on hotels, dining, local merchants, etc.. AND being charged a “tourist fee” – Wouldn’t a refund for $1 for every $100 we contribute to the local economy be appropriate? Or, should we be penalized for adding to their economy on TOP of what we spend on hotel/food/shopping? I know times are tough, and the very last thing these corporations should be donig is surcharging and penalizing tourists for having the interest to travel to their cities. Be happy we are here, want to spend our money here, and hopefully return, but tactics like this will only lead to turning us away from your lovely cities.
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