Agreement Reached Between Attorney General Nessel, Mackinaw City Hotels on Alleged Deceptive Practices
An agreement has been reached between Attorney General Dana Nessel and several Mackinaw City hotels and tourism groups after an investigation into business practices related to customer reservations.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Nessel issued a Notice of Intended Action after consumers complained that they booked rooms at hotels that, while advertised as available and the reservations ultimately confirmed, were closed without notice, according to the Department of the Attorney General. Customers were also unsuccessful in getting refunds.
During the investigation, it was found that “…hotels were advertised through a tourism website that was owned and operated by persons also having ownership interests in the entities running the properties themselves.”
The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance agreement was reached between: Enjo Properties LLC, Jade Enterprises, Inc., Lieghio’s Hamilton Inn Select, Inc., Mackinaw City Chamber of Tourism, Inc., Mackinaw City Chamber of Tourism Inc. d/b/a Hotel Jabber Travel Advisor, Quality Properties of Mackinaw, Inc., and Queen’s Properties, Inc.
The above groups, according to the Department of the Attorney General, do business as several hotels throughout Mackinaw City, including the following:
Some of the highlights of the agreement include:
- The hotels will no longer take reservations for rooms in hotels that are closed for the season and when a room reservation cannot be fulfilled at other times, assurances are given consumers will have ability to cancel and obtain a refund.
- The tourism entity is required to remove the “official seal” from the Chamber of Tourism website and also include conspicuous disclaimers on each website stating, “This site and all the hotels on this site have common ownership by a 5th generation local family that has owned, developed, and personally managed Mackinaw City hotels since 1955.”
- Consumers will have 90 days to submit claims for reimbursement and are eligible for 100% reimbursement by the entities if they can document a fully paid reservation at one of the hotels that was closed for the season, with the consumer being transferred to a different hotel, since January 1, 2017.
- Consumers who filed complaints with the Department or Better Business Bureau about being directed to a different hotel when arriving from January 1, 2017, through the issuance of the NIA in February are eligible for an additional $100 reimbursement from the entities.
- The entities will be responsible for up to $25,000 total in consumer payments.
- In addition to consumer payments, the entities will pay $5,000 to the State of Michigan and $35,000 to the Michigan Strategic Fund.
“Our Consumer Protection Team is working to ensure residents and tourists to our great state can relax and enjoy their northern Michigan vacations,” said Attorney General Nessel. “I encourage eligible consumers to file with us right away to secure these reimbursements.”
Anyone who can document their experience with a reservation at one of the hotels listed during a time when it was closed for the season from Jan. 1 2017 through present, or those who did not get a refund previously, can file a consumer complaint online.