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Lonsdale Quay Hotel removes $12 fee that prompted lawsuit

Hotel website stops charging controversial fee soon after potential class-action lawsuit filed.
Maintenance crews work on Lonsdale Quay’s iconic rotating Q sign in 2019.

Lonsdale Quay Hotel appears to have removed its controversial $12-per-night "facility fee," which it had been charging, and which prompted a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court, and it may be providing refunds to past guests.

B.C. resident James Kirkwood on May 29 filed a lawsuit against Lonsdale Quay Hotel Inc. alleging that it was breaking Canada's Competition Act by charging a $12 "facility fee," which it does not disclose initially on its website.

Kirkwood alleged that he was shown one price on the hotel's website, and that this rate was "not attainable," because an inexplicable $12 "facilities fee" also had to be paid.

That fee is not mandated by any government, Kirkwood said in his lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

His lawsuit included a screenshot of a sample four-night reservation summary that included a $48 fee on a line item called "extras." That fee was added before a 16-per-cent tax, so the real amount of the fee after tax per night, according to the screenshot's numbers, was $13.92.


The fee acted as an essential bait and switch, where the hotel would first show customers one price, and then have a second, higher price that it would actually charge before taxes are added on, his lawsuit alleged.

"Lonsdale Quay Hotel charges the user the higher second price, which includes the additional $12/night facility fee," Kirkwood wrote in his lawsuit. 

Kirkwood's lawsuit said he booked accommodation at the hotel in April and that he paid the $12-per-night facility fee.

His lawsuit seeks a court order to certify a class action lawsuit. Were a class action lawsuit to get certified, litigants would then seek compensation for class members, who would be those who stayed at the hotel and paid the $12-per-night fee. 

It now appears, however, that those people may not need to have the lawsuit get certified and then be victorious in order to get compensation. 

BIV this afternoon phoned the Lonsdale Quay Hotel to ask why the facility fee is being charged.

"We don't charge that fee anymore and that fee is refundable," said a woman who answered the phone and identified herself as the front desk manager. She said she did not want to provide her name to media. 

She said that she believed that the fee stopped being charged "a week ago," which would have been after the lawsuit was filed. 

BIV then went to the hotel's website to try to book a room and at the end of the process saw a reservation summary in the same form shown in the lawsuit. The difference, however, is that in the line item identified as "extras" there was no facility fee. 


BIV phoned Kirkwood to ask for his thoughts on the hotel removing its facilities fee, its suggestion that it will refund the cost of the fee to past guests and on how those moves might impact his lawsuit. 

"I really don't want to comment on anything," he said. 

He said Hammerco, the law firm that actually filed the court documents, is handling communication on the matter. 

BIV left a voicemail this afternoon with Kirkwood's lawyer, Alexia Majidi, but did not get an immediate response. 

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