LaQuinta Inns agrees to refunds for price gouging

By Chris Rizo | May 12, 2008

La Quinta Inn, Oklahoma City Airport

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (Legal Newsline)- LaQuinta Inns has agreed to pay a $50,000 fine and issue refunds to Oklahomans who were overcharged for hotel rooms during a December ice storm.

Consumers will be offered a refund or free rooms from LaQuinta Inns, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Monday.

The Dallas, Texas-based hotel chain violated the state's price gouging law by artificially raising room rates an average of $10 to $20 per night during a declared state of emergency from Dec. 10 through Dec. 20.

Prices were raised at two LaQuinta hotels in Oklahoma City and one each in Del City and Norman plus LaQuinta-owned Baymont Inns in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the AG's office said.

As a part of the settlement, the company agreed to pay $50,000 to the state for consumer protection enforcement activities.

Business travelers who stayed at the hotels during the ice storms but were charged previously-negotiated corporate rates are not eligible for the settlement as it is intended for those people displaced by the ice storm, Edmondson said.

According to the agreement, LaQuinta will provide a free night's stay to eligible consumers who stayed one to three nights.

Consumers who stayed four to six nights will receive two free nights and consumers who stayed seven or more nights will receive three free nights, the attorney general said.

The free nights are received on a per room basis, are not subject to blackout dates and can be used at any LaQuinta hotel within the continental United States. The certificates expire two years from the date of issuance.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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