- Associated Press - Monday, July 6, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - A Charlotte hotel will refund the service charge that people paid for food and drink in its lounge during the CIAA basketball tournament, the N.C. Attorney General’s office announced Monday.

The statement from Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office said the Ritz-Carlton reached an agreement with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and Cooper’s office on July 1.

Under the agreement, the hotel will also notify customers of special service charges in the menu and have servers remind customers in the future. The Ritz-Carlton will donate $75,000 to the CIAA Scholarship Fund, and pay the N.C. Department of Justice $5,000 for consumer-protection efforts.

Consumers who visited the Lobby Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte during the CIAA tournament last February complained that an extra service charge was unexpectedly added to their bills.

Following complaints from consumers, the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division began investigating the charge.

The hotel apologized for the service charge, saying it didn’t intend to offend customers and the gratuity was distributed to the servers who worked the event.

The CIAA is the oldest African-American athletic conference in the nation. Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority spokeswoman Laura White says the tournament had a $50 million economic impact in the city.


Information from: The Charlotte Observer, https://www.charlotteobserver.com

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