Hotel Guests Allege Wynn Las Vegas Charges Illegal Internet Access Fees

Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn Las Vegas have been hit with a new proposed class action lawsuit alleging the hotels unlawfully charged guests an internet access fee.

According to the complaint filed Nov. 15 in Nevada federal court by four former hotel guests, Wynn charges overnight guests includes a mandatory, per-night resort fee which includes WiFi internet access for four devices, two fitness center passes per day, unlimited local and long-distance calls, access to digital newspapers and magazines, and priority access to nightclubs. This Resort Fee is charged to all guests visiting Wynn hotels, regardless of whether or not the guest used the services.

Resort fees are typically charged by hotels and resorts in the United States as a way for hotel owners and operators to increase revenues, the lawsuit states. However, the plaintiffs contend that when charging this Resort Fee, Wynn illegally applied the Clark County Combined Transient Lodging Tax despite a national moratorium on the taxation of Internet access by states, known as the Internet Tax Freedom Act.

In 1998, IFTA began prohibiting states and their political subdivisions from imposing any new taxes on Internet access. The law became permanent in February 2016. Specifically, in charging this tax to the entire amount of the Resort Fee and not as a stand-alone, Wynn has “improperly collected…millions of dollars in illegal and improper taxes of Internet access in violation of the ITFA, and, upon information and belief, retained two percent of the amount unlawfully collected.

It is important to note the named plaintiffs are not challenging the collection of Resort Fees, or the manner in which the Resort Fees were disclosed. They are only seeking damages and restitution for the portion of taxes Wynn purportedly charged and collected on the portion of the Resort Fees for Internet access.

The proposed Wynn Las Vegas Internet Access Fee class action lawsuit seeks to certify two classes: A Wynn Class and an Encore Class that includes “all persons and entities that paid the Clark County Combined Transient Lodging Tax on the portion of a Resort Fee charged by Wynn that constitutes charges for Internet access, during the period beginning November 15, 2013 until such time the illegal conduct alleged herein has ceased.”

Among an injunction requiring Wynn to stop these alleged illegal practices, the Wynn Las Vegas class action seeks monetary damages in the form of all money “improperly collected or received” by Wynn, as well as attorneys’ fees and court costs. A trial by jury has been requested.

The plaintiffs and the proposed class are represented by Don Springmeyer and Jordan Butler of Wolf Rifkin Sharpiro Schulman & Rabkin LLP; Michael Dell’Angelo of Berger & Montague PC; and R. Bryant McCulley of McCulley McCluer PLLC.

The Wynn Las Vegas Internet Access Fee Class Action Lawsuit is Schnitzer et al. v. Wynn Resorts, Ltd et al., Case No. 2:17-cv-02868, in the U.S. District Court for Nevada.

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