Because of its ideal location and obvious flair, the Charlotte Ritz Carlton is a popular place for CIAA attendees to eat, have drinks, or just meet up with friends during the annual tournamet. Part of the draw to hanging out in the hotel lobby is that the crowd is usually composed of older professionals who use the venue as a way to reunite with old classmates, or simply network with like-minded people. But those who patronized the Ritz during the weekend’s festivities and paid attention to their bill, were not happy when they noticed they were assessed a ‘CIAA Service Charge’ of 15%.
“When she brought the receipt, there was a CIAA surcharge that was included,” Wright told WBTV. “And we thought that’s interesting because we have frequented the establishment several times and never had any surcharge that was associated with any organization that was in town.
“Is there an ACC championship surcharge?” she said. “Is there a Speed Street surcharge? Is there a Belk Bowl surcharge?”
“I was shocked,” Wright said. “I was disturbed because I thought that kind of price gouging had been addressed in previous years.”
“We left a gratuity in addition to the CIAA surcharge,” she said. “I’ve been to several different conventions and conferences, and we went to the Ritz and I’ve never seen that before. And if they had to do it, it should be blanket. It should not be identified by CIAA.”
In an email to WBTV, the hotel said, “Due to the size of the CIAA event, we instituted a modest 15% service charge for our lobby beverage servers, on whom the event places significant demands throughout the weekend.”
“That’s not our decision. Certainly it is their decision to defend whether they thought it was the right thing to do or not.
“I know it’s common practice in the industry for some restaurants to charge an automatic gratuity for large parties or special circumstances, and that’s what they may have done.”
“I think what it really was – was an automatic gratuity,” he said. “That’s what we understand from the Ritz-Carlton. So it certainly wasn’t a CIAA surcharge – that was misleading, and I think that was problematic.”
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H/T: Charlotte Observer