Marriott Faces $600,000 Fine for Blocking Customers’ Wi-Fi
The Federal Communications Commission has fined Marriott International as the hospitality major blocked customer’s Wi-Fi in order to pay them for using the internet services at Marriott properties. The FCC statement said that Marriott International has been fined $600,000 for unfair business practices.
FCC further added that consumers who purchase cellular data plans should be allowed to use them without any issues at hotels and conference centers. FCC termed Marriott’s action to block the Wi-Fi as unacceptable.
Marriott has agreed to the $600,000 fine to settle the charges. FCC inquiry confirmed that Marriott blocked access to consumer Wi-Fi networks during an event at a hotel and conference center in Nashville, Tennessee.
Marriott also charged $1,000 per device from customers. The device was required to access internet using the Wi-Fi network of the hotel. Federal law bans companies or people to use signal jammers to block access for wireless networks.
Marriott spokesman Jeff Flaherty said that the hotel only blocked the outside networks to ensure security of the customers. However, FCC has not accepted the arguments presented by Marriott to defend its action.
FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said, "It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hot spots while also charging consumers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel's own Wi-Fi network. This practice puts consumers in the untenable position of either paying twice for the same service or forgoing Internet access altogether."
This is the first time FCC has investigated and fined a hotel for blocking internet access to customers. Most of the hotels these days provide free Wi-Fi enabled internet access to their guests.
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