Raleigh – Following an investigation surrounding complaints over hotel service charges at the Ritz-Carlton hotel last February, the hotel will pay refunds to consumers, fund college scholarships and clearly notify customers about any future special service fees as part of the agreement announced today between the Ritz, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and the Office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

“Being upfront with consumers about fees is always the best way to do business,” Cooper said.CIAA surcharge receipt

Consumers who visited the Lobby Lounge at the Ritz in Charlotte during the CIAA Basketball Tournament in late February, 2015 complained that an extra service charge was unexpectedly added to their bills. Following complaints from consumers, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division launched an investigation into the charge. Today’s agreement resolves that investigation.

About the agreement
Under the agreement, the Ritz will:
Pay refunds to consumers who paid the service charge.
Notify customers if a special service charge will be applied to their bill by disclosing the fee in writing in the menu and having servers remind customers about the charge.
Donate $75,000 to the CIAA Scholarship Fund.
Pay $5,000 to the NC Department of Justice for consumer protection efforts.

How to claim refunds
Eligible consumers have 90 days to apply to get money back. Consumers who believe they are eligible for a refund should take the following steps:
File a consumer complaint with the Consumer Protection Division online at ncdoj.gov, call 1-877-5-NO- SCAM toll-free within North Carolina to request a complaint form in the mail, or send a letter requesting a refund to:
Consumer Protection
Attorney General’s Office
Mail Service Center 9001
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
Include a copy of your bill, credit card or bank statement, or some other record that indicates the amount of service charge paid.

The Attorney General’s Office will forward all requests for refunds to the Ritz. Consumers who have previously filed a complaint with the Attorney General about Ritz service charges do not need to file a new complaint.

“I encourage consumers to apply immediately if they believe they’re due a refund,” Cooper said.