MERIDIAN - Many businesses in the Gem State have been preparing for the total solar eclipse for months, as it is expected to be a big money maker, especially for the hospitality industry.
Many hotels, short-term rentals and even campsites have rates as much as five times higher than usual during the solar event.
But some consumers with no interest in the solar eclipse are saying the prices are too high.
One local woman says she has nowhere else to go but a hotel as she waits for her apartment to be finished.
And now she's trying to figure out how to pay her pricey rate.
LeeAnn, who asked that we not use her last name or be shown on camera, says she has been staying at a Meridian hotel since June 21. What she thought would only be a week or two, turned in to over a month, as her apartment move-in date keeps being pushed back.
“They legally cannot allow me to occupy the building until they have the all clear, it's still being instructed,” said LeeAnn.
LeeAnn says she pays the nightly rate, which is usually between $70 and $80 and has no long-term discount agreement with the hotel.
So far, she has racked up a $4,000 bill.
“Every night I pay whatever it is that day, that's what I'm paying, there's no discount, I don't get a weekly rate," said LeeAnn. "I have to pay that specific amount, so if it is a hundred dollars that night that’s what I’m paying. If I want to continue to stay here I can either pay that or I can find somewhere else to go. I have nowhere else to go.”
LeeAnn is living in the hotel with her 9-year-old daughter.
She has no family or friends in Idaho to stay with so when she saw her hotel fare on the night of the August 20th skyrocketed to $550 she was shocked and angered she wasn't offered a discount considering all the money she had spent so far.
“I can't afford to pay almost double my car payment to stay one night in a hotel,” said LeeAnn.
Unfortunately for LeeAnn, and others in a similar situation, there is no law that governs what price for a hotel stay is too high.
“If a hotel wants to charge $1,000 per night there is no law that prohibits that,” said Idaho Deputy Attorney General Brett DeLange.
DeLange says only if there is a contract, verbal or written, between the guest and hotel can the hotel be held to the original agreed price.
Because LeeAnn agreed to pay whatever Mr. Sandman's nightly rate is, she is stuck paying for an expensive night or will have to go elsewhere.
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