The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, NC, has been accused of adding a “Black surcharge” for guests staying for a basketball tournament. Now the hotel chain is under investigation about the surcharge.
It was last February when the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) held its annual basketball tournament in the city. Since the conference is composed of historically African-American colleges and universities, a majority of the guests at the hotel who were in town for the event were Black.
The conference participants who stayed at the Ritz-Carlton were appalled to find an automatic “CIAA Service” surcharge of 15 percent added to their bills at the lobby bar.
When hotel patrons later questioned the surcharged, the hotel said: “Due to the size of the CIAA event, we instituted a modest 15 percent service charge for our lobby beverage servers, on whom the event places significant demands throughout the weekend.”
But one couple didn’t accept that answer and then others, including the media outlet NPR, began questioning the Ritz-Carlton’s policy. In response, the hotel released the following apology:
“We would like to apologize to any guests we may have offended by the addition of a service charge we implemented at a recent event in our lobby lounge. The service charge was not intended to single out any particular group or organization and we deeply regret any misunderstanding this may have caused. It is important for all guests to feel welcomed at our hotel and for them to receive the highest level of service, respect and hospitality we strive for every day.”
Interestingly, the hotel doesn’t offer any refunds in the apology.
The North Carolina Attorney General‘s Department of Consumer Affairs has now stepped in and is investigating the chain for potentially targeting African-American consumers.
The Ritz-Carlton has not responded to the investigation, reports Fox News.