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Hotel guest suing Hilton over USA Today


Hotel Lawsuit: $82 Million in Unwanted Newspapers - CBS MoneyWatch.com

You don’t read it, and no one you know reads it … so how can USA Today be the No. 2 newspaper in the country?

The answer is hotel copies — which make up about half of the flagship Gannett paper’s 1.8 million daily circulation, notes Jeff Bercovici in Forbes. (The Wall Street Journal, the nation’s No. 1, gets only 7% of its readers from hotels, he points out.)

That means a lawsuit against Hilton Hotels could be big trouble for the newspaper chain, says Bercovici — if the outcome convinces the hotel chain (or even industry) to stop ordering the paper for its guests.

A former hotel guest, Rodney Harmon, is suing the hotel chain in federal court over the 75 cent daily charge a Northern California Hilton passed along to him for a newspaper that he didn’t want.
Read more: 29 Fees We Hate Most

Hotel visitors can opt out of these “guest refund” copies — but only if they know about the charges, which add up to some $82 million a year at Hilton Hotels, Bercovici points out.

We “believe there is more at stake than 75 cents,” Harmon’s lawyer, Kirk Wolden, told the New York Times. “It exemplifies the types of advantages that, unfortunately, we see companies taking of you and I and everyone else every day.”

Got a hotel stay coming up? If you don’t want to pay for a daily paper, be sure to ask at check-in whether you’ll be charged — and opt out if you aren’t interested.

More on MoneyWatch:

Read more: Hotel Lawsuit: $82 Million in Unwanted Newspapers - CBS MoneyWatch.com


Wow, "half" of it's subscriptions are to hotels? I didn't know it was that much. The first line of the story makes sense, nobody I know reads the thing.

I actually like the paper. Even if they carry a Nascar story front page above-the-fold, who am I to say it's fluff? They are giving the public what they want.