Biden pushes for “junk fee” crackdown, $8 cap on credit card late fees – USA TODAY

WASHINGTON —The Biden administration wants to cap most credit card late fees at $8 for a missed payment, with federal regulators set to propose a rule to that effect on Wednesday.

In addition, President Joe Biden will urge Congress to crack down on “excessive” junk fees, or the additional fees ticket brokers, airlines and resorts tack onto customers’ bills, the White House said in a call previewing the announcement.

“These fees can be incredibly frustrating for typical Americans,” said Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council. “They cost consumers billions of dollars a year. They make it harder for people to comparison shop, but they also reduce competition.”

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Administration officials outlined four specific types of “junk fees”:

  • Excessive online ticket fees: The White House highlighted the “massive” service fees added to the cost of online concert, sporting event and other entertainment tickets, which dramatically raise costs.
  • Airline fees for families with young children: Biden will push Congress to ban family seating fees to prevent parents from paying higher prices to guarantee a seat with their children. 
  • Early TV, phone and internet termination fees: The president is also targeting early termination fees consumers pay when they switch to a different provider.
  • Resort and destination fees: The administration wants Congress to ban charges added on to hotel visits and online reservations. Biden wants Congress to require hotels and resorts to include those fees in the advertised cost of the room.    

Biden previously tasked federal agencies with finding ways to reduce or eliminate junk fees last fall. Deese said that Biden will advise his administation “to keep prioritizing this issue” when he meets Wednesday with his competition council.

Bipartisan legislation passed in 2009 allows the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to curb excessive credit card and late fees, according to the White House. 

The CFPB plans to submit the rule for review on Wednesday, but consumers are unlikely to be affected until at least 2024, said Rohit Chopra, director of the CFPB.

“Junk fees have unfortunately become the norm…They’re often charged for so-called services that a consumer never wanted and are set at levels far beyond the true costs,” Chopra said. “Junk fees inflate prices and chip away at monthly budgets by obscuring part of the price from comparison shopping.”

Who pays fees?:Minorities spend more on banking fees than white people, survey says

Taylor Swift ticket fiasco fuels new calls for reforms

The Senate Judiciary Committee examined the lack of competition within the ticketing industry and grilled Ticketmaster executive Joe Berchtold during a hearing last month following the company’s mishandling of Taylor Swift’s concert tickets.

The company canceled its November general public ticket sale for Swift’s highly anticipated tour after several days of turbulence during its verified fan presale, angering hundreds of thousands of fans who never got tickets.

Berchtold, the president and CFO of Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation Entertainment, defended his company, testifying that “industrial-scale ticket scalping” and an unprecedented number of bots were responsible for the large-scale problems.

Senators in both parties challenged Ticketmaster during the hearing, which also looked at ticketing fees. 

Jack Groetzinger, SeatGeek CEO, told the committee that the only way to restore the ticketing industry was by breaking up the two companies. Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010 and have faced scrutiny since.

The White House said in its Tuesday call that bipartisan support for reforms has administration officials optimistic about legislative action to reduce fees.

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