Companies agree to provide upfront pricing as Biden rails against ‘junk fees’

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Ticketmaster tickets and gift cards are shown at a box office in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

Companies agree to provide upfront pricing as Biden rails against ‘junk fees’

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The White House announced on Thursday that several major companies have agreed to be more upfront with pricing as the administration pushes back on “junk fees.”

The commitments include those from major ticketing companies, such as Live Nation, that have faced criticism for the often-expensive hidden fees that are tacked on to the listing price for tickets. The hidden fees make consumers feel as though they are getting a good deal until right when they make the purchase.

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“Junk fees are not a matter for the wealthy very much, but they are a matter for working folks like the homes I grew up in, and they can add hundreds of dollars a month and make it harder for families to pay their bills. I think it’s just wrong,” Biden said during a brief news conference on Thursday.

Live Nation announced Thursday that beginning in September, ticket sales will show all-in pricing for concertgoers. Additionally, Ticketmaster, a subsidiary of Live Nation, is adding a feature to its platform for consumers to view all-in upfront pricing.

“In total, the companies that are making new commitments today will improve the purchasing experience for tens of millions of customers annually,” the White House touted in a news release. “These commitments are in response to the President’s call to action on junk fees in his State of the Union.”

The changes will affect millions of customers each year, according to the White House, which hosted representatives from SeatGeek, xBk, Airbnb, the Pablo Center at the Confluence, TickPick, DICE, and the Newport Festivals Foundation on Wednesday.

SeatGeek is planning features to make it easier for its customers to shop using all-in pricing, according to the White House, which also noted that last December, housing rental company Airbnb introduced a new all-in price display tool that allows its U.S. customers to see the final price, including fees.

Biden took direct aim at such fees during his annual State of the Union address earlier this year. He said that they hurt ordinary people and vowed to take action.

“They add up to hundreds of dollars a month. They make it harder for you to pay the bills or afford that family trip. I know how unfair it feels when a company overcharges you and gets away with it,” Biden said.

Federal agencies have also taken action on the matter.

Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced plans to crack down on hidden fees charged by banks and financial institutions.

The CFPB also announced a proposal to limit late fees to $8, which would apply to any missed payment. To charge higher fees, credit card companies would have to prove they were required to cover collection costs.

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The agency argued that “excessive” credit card fees cost the public some $12 billion each year.

“Over a decade ago, Congress banned excessive credit card late fees, but companies have exploited a regulatory loophole that has allowed them to escape scrutiny for charging an otherwise illegal junk fee,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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