Hotel Guest Sues Over 75-Cent USA Today

Hotels shouldn't provide newspapers unless requested: federal lawsuit
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2011 11:07 AM CDT
A journalist reads USA Today on May 23, 2011 in New York City.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – You know those copies of USA Today that sometimes get left outside your hotel room door? Apparently they're not free, at least not at the Hilton Garden Inn Sonoma County Airport, which one guest learned to his dismay. Now Rodney Harmon has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the Hilton chain over the 75-cent charge, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Harmon says he stepped over the paper as he left the room. But a few days later, he noticed a small warning on his key card pouch informing him of the charge, according to the New York Times.

"He did not request a newspaper and assumed it had been placed there by hotel staff," reads Harmon's suit, which adds that the hotel allegedly tried to hide the charge by listing it in an "extremely small font which is difficult to notice or read" on the key sleeve. Further, the suit accuses the hotel of an "offensive waste of precious resources and energy," since newspaper readership is down and most of the papers left for guests probably don't get read. Though the 75 cents is "a piddly sum," writes Ben Popken at the Consumerist, "the case could have big implications if it becomes the impetus to sue other hotel chains, since many hotels do just the same thing."

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