Casey and AG Henry take aim at hated junk fees on concerts and more

US Sen. Bob Casey speaking at a Labor Day rally at the Sheet Metal Worker Local 19 facility on Sept. 4, 2023. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

February 12, 2024

“Across the Nation, families are struggling to make ends meet, in part, because of excessive and hidden junk fees,” Senator Casey wrote in a letter to Lian M. Khan, Chair of the Federal Trade Commission

US Sen. Bob Casey and Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry are urging the Biden administration to crack down on hidden and bogus fees by adopting the proposed “Rule on Unfair or Deceptive Fees,” which would ban junk fees on consumer purchases.

“Across the Nation, families are struggling to make ends meet, in part, because of excessive and hidden junk fees,” Senator Casey wrote in a letter to Lian M. Khan, Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

“Consumers should be able to make informed decisions without being saddled with hidden or bogus fees at the end of their purchases. Bringing transparency to junk fees will allow Americans to comparison shop for the product that best meets their needs and will protect honest businesses that are upfront with consumers about the price of their product.”

Last month, Casey released another Greedflation report detailing how corporations use hidden junk fees to pad their profits and the report highlighted how Americans would save $252 million a year on concert tickets if event promoters like Live Nation didn’t tack hidden fees onto tickets once you purchase them.

The proposed FTC rule would require companies like Live Nation to prominently display the true cost of the concert ticket once it is originally advertised. This is called “all-in” pricing, which is the initial price consumers pay for that item.

The rule would prohibit businesses from misrepresenting the nature or purpose of any fee and prohibit “bait and switch” advertising requiring businesses, from the outset, to clearly disclose the total price. It would also require businesses to clearly disclose the nature and purpose of certain fees, such as shipping or other fees, before the consumer pays.

Henry helped rally support for the proposed rule by co-leading a coalition of 19 Attorney Generals from around the country to and sending a letter in support of change to the FTC.

“Junk fees hurt consumers by concealing the real prices of goods and services, as well as honest businesses that lose out to competitors that use the deceptive practice to appear the better bargain,” Henry said in a statement.

“Our work to combat junk fees goes back many years, and we would not be as effective and impactful without collaboration with our state and federal partners committed to helping consumers and businesses in their communities.”

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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