Biden Administration Proposes Junk Free Protection Act to Prohibit Hidden Fees

Working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Biden Administration introduced the Junk Free Protection Act. The proposal calls for Congress to limit the fees that can be charged for tickets to live events. Their announcement comes just over a week after a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examined the concerns of Ticketmaster and the broader event-ticketing industry in a rare bipartisan session. This call to reform is largely in response to [Ticketmaster owner] Live Nation Entertainment’s mishandling of Taylor Swift’s most recent tour.

At the fourth meeting of the Presidential Competition Council, President Biden promoted an earlier proposal that encouraged Congress to pass a referendum the White House called. The aim, then as now, was to reduce the four types of excessive fees. This includes online payment processing fees for sporting events and live concerts.

Ticketmaster maintains they have long-supported ticketing reforms, particularly “all-in-pricing”. This measure effectively reveals the full retail cost of a ticket upfront to the customer. At the same time, Ticketmaster was also sure to caution that this pricing can only work if every ticket marketplace agrees to use the same system. Furthermore, this kind of pricing structure would also require strict enforcement.

The three other types of fees outlined in the Junk Fee Protection Act are:
airline charges for family members who want to sit together with young children, excessive early termination fees (for television, phone, internet service, etc.), surprise resort fees, and destination fees

Regarding credit card [late] fees in particular, the new proposal comes only about a year since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that credit card companies charged upwards of $12 billion in late fees in 2020. Reducing the fee from $31, on average, to $8 should save American consumers a total of $9 billion every year.

Apparently, “excessive fees” have been banned for at least the last ten years, explains CFPB director Rohit Chopra. Unfortunately, companies can exploit certain regulatory loopholes to charge what should technically be illegal fees. The new rule aims to shore up those weaknesses.