Overseas travel operators are tricking tourists into paying unnecessary ‘green travel’ fees, only to pocked their extra spending to increase profits. A series of recent exposes have covered one of the travel industry’s largest and most widespread scams – the addition of environmental service fees, ‘green’ recycling taxes, and other bogus charges to tourists’ hotel bills in an effort to boost income.
Service fees and booking charges have attracted criticism from travellers, particularly those that discover the extra charges without being aware that they are being added to their bill. The service charges, however, at least maintain a basis in reality and provided service, having contributed to experiences, facilities, and customer services used while travelling.
Regulators have criticised travel providers that apply additional ‘carbon’ fees to hotel and flight bills, despite a lack of official policy regarding the taxes and charges involved. The fees tend to be levied against holidayers after their departure from the hotel in question, leading many to believe that the fees are simply a re-branded version of a decades-old credit card direct access scam.
Travellers that encounter unexpected fees on their hotel bill are advised to take them up with the company in question. When a company has fraudulently charged your account, as is often the case in travel scams and remote credit card usage, it’s best to contact your credit card provider and ask for a ‘charge-back.’ The provider will then hold the funds from the hotel until the cost is resolved.
Environmental groups suggest that the elimination of bogus green charges will pave the way for greater consumer acceptance of legitimate ‘green’ taxes, particularly those that contribute to park and air quality improvement efforts. For travellers, the hidden fees remain an annoyance, costing Britain’s independent tourists anywhere from £5 to £50 per occurrence.