President Joe Biden announced new advancements on his administration’s “competitive agenda” on Wednesday, specifically targeting unwanted fees while calling on Congress to pass legislation targeting hidden fees across multiple industries.
These costs could “pull hundreds of dollars a year out of the pockets of hard-working American families, especially people who are already struggling to make ends meet — but not after today,” Biden said at the fourth meeting of the Presidential Competition Council on Wednesday.
The proposed legislation in conjunction with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, called the Junk Fee Protection Act, would target four types of excessive fees:
- excessive online ticket prices for concerts, sporting events and entertainment
- airline costs for families on flights together
- exorbitant fees for early termination of TV, telephone and Internet services
- surprising resort and destination costs
In brief pre-meeting remarks, Biden had specifically referred to late credit card fees as “an unwanted fee if there ever was one,” saying the CFPB’s new guidelines would reduce these fees.
“Today’s rule proposes reducing those fees from an average of $31 to $8,” he added. “That change is expected to save tens of millions of dollars for Americans, about $9 billion a year in total savings.”
Biden called on Congress to pass junk fee legislation, saying it would “give hard-working Americans just a little bit more breathing room.” It’s part of a plan, he added, to “build an economy that is competitive and one that works for everyone.”
Rohit Chopra, director of the CFPB, noted before the announcement that “more than a decade ago, Congress banned excessive late fees for credit cards.”
“But companies have exploited a regulatory loophole that allowed them to escape scrutiny for charging an otherwise illegal junk fee,” he added in a statement to CNN. “Today’s proposed rule is designed to save families billions of dollars and ensure the credit card market is fair and competitive.”
Another reimbursement category that frustrates many customers is event tickets sold online, for which additional fees are often high – and usually appear late in the checkout process when a customer is about to make the purchase.
For instance, lawmakers earlier this year came under fire from Live Nation president and CFO Joe Berchtold over a ticket sales debacle over exorbitant ticket prices. While the company said on Wednesday it supports reform, it also said it opposes the proposed legislation.
“We stand ready to work with the President and Congress on many sensible ticketing reforms while also speaking out against proposed legislation that would benefit scalpers over artists and fans,” the company said in a statement. statement.
Biden’s transportation department also took steps last fall at the previous Competition Council meeting to reduce “unnecessary hidden costs” from airlines and travel sites that the president warned are “cringing family budgets.”