Disability Law Index - Public Accommodations: Surcharges


28 C.F.R. § 36.301(c) - Eligibility Criteria - Charges

A public accommodation may not impose a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the costs of measures, such as the provision of auxiliary aids, barrier removal, alternatives to barrier removal, and reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, that are required to provide that individual or group with the nondiscriminatory treatment required by the Act or this part.

Case Law:

Dare v. California, 191 F.3d 1167(9th Cir. 1999).

  • Two-part inquiry on whether a fee is a surcharge. 1. Consider whether the fee is for a measure “required to provide that individual or group nondiscriminatory treatment” as mandated by the ADA. 2. Consider whether it constitutes a charge that people without disabilities would not incur.
  • Surcharges against people with disabilities constitute facial discrimination.

Disabled in Action of PA. v. National Passenger R.R. Corp., 418 F.Supp.2d 652 (E.D.Pa. 2005).

  • Amtrak may assess fees for additional accommodations it makes available that are not compelled by the ADA or its regulations.

Duprey v. State of Conn., Dept. of Motor Vehicles, 28 F.Supp.2d 702 (D.Conn. 1998).

  • A fee is a surcharge if it is in excess of a usual or normal amount, even if this amount is zero

Settlement Agreements:

  • Resort Express, Inc. - Customer was charged higher fares for transportation in an accessible van from airport to hotel than person without a disability (not using an accessible van).
  • Vasquez Funeral Home - Funeral had charged more for embalming people who died of AIDS complications.


Legal E-Bulletin: Surcharges for Accessibility