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Hope you like Jamming too: Marriott gets fined for blocking public WiFi

Not content with the emotional blackmailing to get you to tip you room cleaner, Marriott have been fined $600,000 by the FAA for jamming user’s WiFi in order to get you to use their WiFi network at highly inflated prices.

The villain is this case is Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, who blocked users mobile “hotspots” and required consumers, small businesses and exhibitors as much as $1,000 per device to access Marriott’s Wi-Fi.

From Bloomberg article dated 3rd October:

“Consumers who purchase cellular data plans should be able to use them without fear that their personal Internet connection will be blocked by their hotel or conference center,” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said in the statement.

Under a consent decree with the FCC, Marriott must stop using Wi-Fi blocking technology and file compliance and usage reports every three months for three years, the FCC said. Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott, the world’s second-largest publicly traded hotel chain, also will pay a civil penalty of $600,000.

In some cases, Marriott employees at the hotel’s conference center used technology to disrupt customer Wi-Fi transmissions and block Internet access. Marriott charged conference exhibitors and other attendees $250 to $1,000 per device to use the Gaylord Wi-Fi service in the conference facilities.

And Marriott’s response..

Marriott says it did nothing wrong and it’s the FCC’s policies that need changing.

Unbelievable.

Out of curiosity, we took a look at this resort. While the Gaylord resort looks nice, many people complain about the additional fees. One reviewer on tripadvisor – Scott from St.Louis – captures what I would think of this:

Maybe this was in the small print somewhere but on check-in, the very nice guys says “there is a $18 resort fee for the two bottles of water in your room and the wifi… “… I was like “what?”… this better be some good water! No, it was sam’s club $.15/bottle water. OK….

The wifi? It was about 1MB (couldn’t stream netflix) but you could pay more to get better bandwidth. That’s really nice.

Now I’m angry. I would like to give them perhaps 3 stars at this point (and be rated with the muckity mucks in the middle reviewers) but no… it gets better.

Parking is $21. you use your room key to park – ok, that must be part of the $240… nope.

Another reviewer on Hotels.com “Kathy M” reports somethings similar:

NOT very happy with price of this hotel. They have added charges that are simply silly. There is an $18 +tax daily for two bottle of warm cheap waters, Wi-Fi (which is supposed to be free),discounts at hotel amenities, transportation to airport, and mall around the corner but all other routes are at a cost. They then also charge for parking $21+tax a day on top of the $18, really, I don’t understand why they charge for parking with the other fee. There is nothing around them, no where near down town and every thing around them offers free parking for their facilities. If they are going to do a daily charge like the $18 one it should include your parking not be in addition to!

The verdict on Gaylord Opryland Resport: FEED THEM TO THE LIONS

A customer Complaint from TripAdvisor

A customer Complaint from TripAdvisor

Complaints on Hotels.com

Complaints on Hotels.com

Tip Jarred

scroogeDahlings, Mariott Hotels are placing envelopes in rooms to tactfully remind you to tip the person who cleans your hotel room.

What splendid Chutzpah, Bill!  Emotionally blackmail your guests to compensate for you paying your workesr lsuch ow wages. I admire it.

Others however do not:

“It is not Marriott’s responsibility to remind customers to tip; it’s their responsibility to pay their workers enough so that tips aren’t necessary,” said author Barbara Ehrenreich, who tried working as a hotel maid for her 2001 book “Nickel and Dimed,” which chronicled her experiences in low-wage jobs.

Marriott’s Corporate 2014 Awards and Recognition are interesting in relationship to this tip envelope initiative. From Marriott.com  [Queue a drum role please]. Continue reading..