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AG Nessel Reaches Compliance Agreement with Novi Hilton to Reimburse Consumers for Alleged Ice Storm Price Gouging
October 27, 2023
LANSING – Wednesday, the Department of Attorney General filed an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance and Discontinuance in the 6th Circuit Court in Oakland County resolving an investigation into alleged price gouging during a severe ice storm in late February 2023 by the Hilton Garden Inn in Novi, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. The Assurance resolves the investigation and potential litigation of an alleged violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act (MCPA) and contains several concessions to the State and consumers.
The Hilton Garden Inn in Novi was the subject of an investigation by the Department of Attorney General following a consumer complaint alleging price gouging during a severe ice storm that affected Southeast Michigan and caused widespread power outages and hazardous conditions. The hotel maintains their denial of any violations of the MCPA, and the ultimate resolution of this investigation was amicable.
The terms of the Assurance require that the originating complainant to the Department of Attorney General will receive a full refund, and that all consumers who paid a nightly room rate in excess of $200 between the 23rd and 26th of February 2023 will receive a refund amounting to the difference between $200 and the rate they were charged, plus applicable taxes. In addition to the refunds, the Hilton Garden Inn in Novi agreed to mandate for all employees with responsibilities for determining room rates an MCPA compliance training within 60 days, including education that the MCPA prohibits “charging the consumer a price that is grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold.” This training is also mandated, for a term of two years, for all new hires with price-setting responsibilities at the Hilton Garden Inn in Novi. The hotel-provided training must be documented and include training on a process for receiving and responding to consumer complaints regarding their pricing.
“Price gouging during a severe weather event is disrespectful to your customers and charging grossly excessive prices is illegal,” said Nessel. “As we prepare for another Michigan winter, I want businesses and consumers to know my office pays close attention to complaints about those who seek to turn consumer desperation into financial opportunity.”
The Hilton Gardin Inn in Novi also agrees to reimburse the State of Michigan $1,000 for costs associated with investigating the alleged MCPA violation.
Michigan consumers who suspect price gouging are encouraged to contact the Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team at:
Consumer Protection Team
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Toll free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form