by Sarah J.F. Braley | July 13, 2015
Following an investigation by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper's office, the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, will pay refunds to people who were charged an extra service fee - noted on receipts as the "CIAA svc chg" - on purchases in the hotel's lounge during the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association's February 2015 basketball tournament. Uproar in the media and social media at the time accused the hotel of adding the line "because CIAA is largely a black event," as reported on National Public Radio.

Under the agreement between the Ritz, the CIAA and the attorney general's office, the hotel will notify customers if a special service charge will be applied to their bill by disclosing the fee in writing in the menu and having servers remind customers about the charge; in addition, the property will donate $75,000 to the CIAA Scholarship Fund and pay $5,000 to the North Carolina Department of Justice for consumer-protection efforts.

"Being upfront with consumers about fees is always the best way to do business," Cooper said.