President Joe Biden will detail new efforts to eliminate so-called junk fees, including a proposed Federal Trade Commission rule that would require businesses to disclose all charges for goods and services upfront — the latest step by the administration to address rising costs for US consumers.
(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden will detail new efforts to eliminate so-called junk fees, including a proposed Federal Trade Commission rule that would require businesses to disclose all charges for goods and services upfront — the latest step by the administration to address rising costs for US consumers.
Biden will announce the new steps Wednesday at an event with FTC Chair Lina Khan and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra, according to the White House.
The proposed FTC rule would bar companies from “charging hidden and misleading fees and require them to show the full price” upfront and disclose whether any fees are refundable, according to a White House fact sheet. The proposal would apply to a wide range of industries subject to FTC oversight, including event ticketing, hotels and apartments or car rentals. Companies that do not comply would face monetary penalties and have to provide refunds.
The rule would save consumers more than 50 million hours per year of time spent searching for the total price for ticketed events and short-term lodging alone, the FTC estimates.
Separately, the CFPB will issue an advisory opinion that clarifies that consumers are entitled to get basic information from large banks and credit unions about their own accounts, such as balances or the remaining payoff amounts on loans, without having to pay fees.
“These announcements are some of the most comprehensive actions on junk fees the administration has taken to date and have the potential to really change how consumers experience the purchasing process from live-event tickets to hotel stays to apartment rentals,” Lael Brainard, Biden’s top economic adviser, told reporters.
The president has escalated his efforts regarding consumer fees and touted the cost savings as he seeks to highlight his economic agenda before next year’s presidential election. Biden has struggled to sell voters worried about high inflation and fearful of a softening jobs market on his handling of the economy despite recent positive economic data.
The administration’s campaign against hidden fees has seen some successes. Biden in June hailed websites Ticketmaster and SeatGeek Inc. for initiatives that would make it easier for consumers to see costs upfront when they buy tickets for events. Some of the nation’s larger financial institutions, such as Capital One Financial Corp. and Citigroup Inc., have also moved to eliminate overdraft fees on checking accounts.
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