US Senators Blumenthal and Whitehouse introduce new junk fee legislation 

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US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse have introduced a new legislation that would eliminate excessive fees and enforce transparency in the marketplace around hidden fees. 

According to a press release from Senator Blumenthal, hidden fees cost Americans billions of dollars annually. The introduction of the ‘Junk Fee Prevention Act’ follows calls from President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address.

The legislation would eliminate excessive, hidden and unnecessary fees that are imposed on consumers in the ticketing, hotel and entertainment industries. Airlines will also be unable to charge fees to seat families together.

Senator Blumenthal said: “Concealed surprise fees – nickel and diming Americans to distraction – must be stopped. Airline travel, concert going, common purchases – seemingly almost everywhere – consumers are compelled to pay hidden excessive charges. Our bill will help end this price gouging – forcing full disclosure upfront and restricting abusive fees. It will mandate basic common sense fairness and transparency, which consumers rightly demand and deserve.”

Senator Whitehouse added: “Consumers are charged hidden fees when purchasing everything from flights to concert tickets. Our Junk Fee Prevention Act would provide consumers with the transparency they deserve when making a purchase.”

In February, President Biden urged Congress to pass legislation that would eliminate excess fees.

The ‘Junk Fee Prevention Act’ would also require the full price of service to be displayed upfront. It would also empower the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to issue new rules and enforce against violations.

Consumer Federation of America, National Consumers League and Consumer Reports have all backed the Junk Fee Presentation Act.

Erin Witte, director of Consumer Protection at Consumer Federation of America, said: “CFA applauds Senators Blumenthal and Whitehouse for once again standing up for consumers and leading the charge to end junk fees by introducing this legislation.

“The ‘Junk Fee Prevention Act’ will crack down on some of the most egregious junk fees in ticket sales, hotel reservations, air travel, and telecommunications, and will level the playing field for consumers and honest businesses.”

Chuck Bell, advocacy programme director for Consumer Reports, added: “Consumers are rightfully fed up with the proliferation of junk fees that jack up the price of everything from event tickets and hotels to airline flights and internet services.

“Junk fees can add up to a lot of extra money and pose a real financial strain for families at a time when inflation is already taking a big bite out of their wallets. Congress should protect consumers from these unfair and deceptive charges by passing the ‘Junk Fee Prevention Act’.”