This week we complete our review of hotel overcharges, fees and add-ons by focusing on the hotel mini-bar and Wi-Fi access. In particular we will take a look at the recent Consent Decree between Marriott International, Inc. and the Federal Communications Commission [October 3, 2014] providing for a civil penalty of $600,000 “to settle (an investigation) of allegations that Marriott interfered with and disabled Wi-Fi networks established by consumers in the conference facilities at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville… in violation of Section 333 of the Communications Act of 1934″.
The Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, like many other hotels, bills items to guests’ rooms if sensors in the minibar note that they have been removed for more than 60 seconds-enough time, hotels say, to read the nutritional information and make a decision. The Aria goes one step further. It also charges a $25 a day ‘personal use fee’ if a guest puts their own soda or bottled water in the minibar”).
The Consent Decree in Matter of Marriott International, Inc., before the Federal Communications Commission [File No: EB-IHD-13-00011303] [Order Adopted October 3, 2014] provides, in part, as follows: “2. Section 333 of the Communications Act provides that ‘No person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this Act… [47 U.S.C. § 333]. The [Enforcement Bureau] previously has indicated that the use of jammers to interfere with Wi-Fi transmissions violates Section 333 [FCC Enforcement Advisory
Although the most commonly recognized wireless network access point is the Wi-Fi router that many consumers have in their homes, a number of portable routers and mobile devices can also serve as a wireless access point that connects to the Internet. Some of these standalone transmitting devices, typically the size of a stack of playing cards, which are referred to as ‘hotspot’ or ‘MiFi’ devices, which connect to the Internet through the mobile data network to which the consumer has subscribed…many smartphones sold today come with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities.