Marriott Fined $600,000 For Blocking WiFi Access To Force People To Pay It For Internet Access




I am happily ensconced this morning at that beautiful Villa Pinciana not far from the Roman steps in Roma, Italy. Besides the beauty of this location and this hotel, one other thing is likely to stand out for American travelers not just at this but virtually all hotels in this country: free wifi. As many of you know, I have long complained about the practice of high-end hotels charging ridiculous fees for wifi while cheaper hotels (and countless coffee shops, restaurants, and other establishments) offer it for free.(Here and here and here) It is an open gouging of business travelers but these hotels which are charging hundreds of a night only to demand that guests pay them for something free on the street. Now there is a small victory against the corporate greed of high-end hotels. Marriott has agreed to pay a $600,000 fine after the Federal Communications Commission found the company blocked consumer Wi-Fi networks last year during an event at a hotel and conference center in Nashville. Of course, nothing changes in Marriott ripping off guests for wifi generally, but they stand to do the electronic version of poisoning wells to force travelers to drink at their well.

It turns out that Marriott was charging exhibitors and others as much as $1,000 per device to access the hotel’s wireless network while blocking their Wi-Fi access. The way Marriott sabotaged its own guests was by using “containment features of a Wi-Fi monitoring system” at the hotel to prevent people from accessing their own personal Wi-Fi networks. The hotel was forced to agree to stop the practice at all of its properties, not just the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. I would love to know who busted the hotel. In March 2013, someone sent the FCC a complaint that the hotel was “jamming mobile hot spots so that you can’t use them in the convention space.”

Marriott however agreed to the settlement but still insists that it was acting entirely appropriately: “Marriott has a strong interest in ensuring that when our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hot spots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft.” Wow, forcing people to pay $1,000 a device was Marriott way of protecting people from unscrupulous actors.

Here is the FCC press release.

What continues to amaze me is that high-end American hotels continue to rip off travelers when most of the market offer free wi-fi as a basic feature for guests. It turns out that Marriott is only “Your home away from home” if you come from an incredibly abusive and usurious family.

Source: CNN

141 thoughts on “Marriott Fined $600,000 For Blocking WiFi Access To Force People To Pay It For Internet Access”

  1. Crap…my manners suck at times….

    Thank you, Bailers, for responding to my questions about tablets. I will look in to the software or apps you’ve suggested when I shop for a tablet. Isn’t a Nexus 7 an Android tablet?

  2. Bailers… I just checked out Photoshop Express, and it appears to do something similar to what the Kodak Digital Sho plug-in does, albeit with less flexibility & control. Looks pretty handy for on the go.

    As for Adobe Revel, am I mistaken of is that cloud app? I want nothing of mine on any cloud. That and its editing features are less functional than what Faststone Image Viewer offers…but it may be I am just used to what I have and am missing something.

    I plan to contact FastStone and ask if they have program or an app that will load on to a high end Android Tablet. As for storage when traveling, I’d have to acquire some more high capacity thumb drives and the means to connect them to the tablet.

    The tablet thing is new to me because I’ve always been quite happy with my Dell Latitude 410 with a 12 inch screen for photo handling on the road. All said an done I am not sure I need the tablet. My better half would disagree…but she’s an iPad & iPhone freak, er…aficionado.

  3. Aridog,
    I don’t know anything about Fastone, but I use a Nexus 7 tablet to import and do minor modifications to photos. So if that’s what you are looking for there are lots of free programs out there. I use Photoshop Express. I believe it is free, and connects to Adobe Revel or other services so I can transfer photos to my laptop for editing on Photoshop later. It works well enough for quick changes and has some power that I haven’t tried to tap into.

    I’d also recommend an “OTG” cable. I picked one up on Amazon for about $4 and lets me plug into a micro-usb port with my SD card from my camera. There is something similar for an IPad as well.

    1. Aridog – they are saying there are going to be great deals on tablet on Black Friday.

  4. Viking…”Dick” is my name and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t get all anally impacted over it. Actually I don’t care what you do…Viking, Kraut, Wisconsin whiner, whatever…give it a break. Just come back as your most recent iteration…you actually, now and then, had something worthwhile to say on the topic of thread. Now you are a mockery of yourself. What is it about that?

  5. Nick, I’m sure you’re very brave. No one wants to make you feel any worse than you already do after that little blond lady called you a “Dick”. I know that’s going to smart for quite sometime. Ciao, little buddy.

  6. Viking, I’ve been shot @ twice. I’ve worked in the toughest neighborhoods in this country. I’ve been cross examined by great attorneys. So, play your lame games w/ someone else. You have the aroma of a former malcontent. I’m done acknowledging you. JT and Darren don’t need to have to deal w/ you stirring up crap. Ciao.

  7. Hey Nick, old boy, it was not I who brought up any talk of homosexual activities, nor did I bring up “ball” bursting. What a violent visual, that you brought up all by yourself. I simply brought up the fact that you sounded mighty wounded over a little blond lady calling you a “Dick”. I thought you were going to cry for a minute there. Take deep breaths….

  8. BTW phantom of teh intarwebs…I understand how confusing it is to keep track of so many sock-puppets on sundry threads. Make you cross-eyed if you don’t quit.

    BTW…did any of your clones actually comment on the topic of this thread, that of hotel disservice to guests?

    Huh? I can’t hear you.

  9. Aridog, Viking has a chip on his shoulder. Just looking for a battle. I probably busted his balls when he had another alias.

  10. Who do we think this homophobic Viking, obsessed w/ butts hurting is? He’s been here awhile, just a new alias. Not really worth much effort.

  11. “Viking” (yeah, right & I am tweedledee) …you got the wrong thread for that “Dick” remark…check it out on the “Campaign against the Islamic state…” thread.

    BTW … “Dick” is my name and i rather like it.

  12. Karen, You are a real feminist. The old school faux feminists are hypocrites. They say they want to be treated the same as men, but whine when it gets even a little rough. If they were called the female equivalent of what I was called, a Dick, well we know the slang word for that, there would be SCREAMING.

  13. Hannelori:

    And did you come to my rescue when I’ve been called a liar, stupid, selfish, without a brain, or any of the other names I’ve been called on this site?

    I don’t consider vigorous disagreement to be abuse. And although I thought it was childish, I did not feel “abused” when I was called stupid, etc. I do not recall Elaine being abused, either. And a casual review of the threads will reveal that I have spoken up multiple times before, pleading with posters to refrain from getting personal.

    I am rather opinionated. There is likely no one in this world with which I agree on all things.

  14. And there is always Starbucks. I have an app the lists all the free wi-fi in the area and how close they are.

  15. I’m staying at the Hyatt in Milwaukee. WiFi is $10.95.
    Oh, well, it’ll be nice to go on vacation without my laptop for a change.

    1. earsoftheworld wrote: “I’m staying at the Hyatt in Milwaukee. WiFi is $10.95.”

      Hyatt is one of my favorite brands. You must be staying at the Hyatt Regency because at the two Hyatt Place hotels in Milwaukee, they advertise free wifi and free breakfast. Hyatt Regency caters to a more upscale clientele, meaning, people who don’t mind paying for extras. The trick there is to get their credit card and do a diamond challenge to get diamond status. With diamond status, you get free wifi and access to the club lounge which offers free food and drinks. Most importantly, they treat you like a VIP and give you free room upgrades. They seem to always put me in one of their best rooms.

  16. Hannelori , “One commenter who was mercilessly harassed and bullied here was Elaine M. It was and remains shameful. I often wondered why more decent people such as yourself didn’t call out the abuser of Elaine for his behavior.”

    He has been called out repeatedly but his harassment continues.

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