Most travelers know the importance of Wi-Fi and how crucial it is to complete your day to day business. Unfortunately, it turns out that certain businesses, including hotels, are not above taking advantage of their customers personal Wi-Fi to make even more of a profit for themselves.
It is common for travelers to purchase and use personal Wi-Fi hotspots that connect to the internet via cellphone towers. Depending on what rate you want to pay, some people even upgrade their wireless data plans to turn their smartphones into hotspots. This way people will be able to connect to the internet while on the move and can avoid hefty fees charged by businesses.
The FCC says that employees at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, used technology to disable personal Wi-Fi networks established by attendees at its conference facilities. The hotel then charged guests anywhere from $250 to $1,000 per device for access to the hotel network.
In a statement, FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said, “It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots while also charging consumers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel’s own Wi-Fi network. This practice puts consumers in the untenable position of either paying twice for the same service or forgoing Internet access altogether.”
Marriott International has agreed to pay a $600,000 fine to resolve this Federal Communications Commission investigation. Along with the fine, Marriott will also file compliance and usage reports with the Bureau every three months for three years including information documenting any use of Internet access point containment features at any U.S. property that Marriott owns or manages.