Biden targets hidden 'junk fees' from banks, cable TV and concert tickets

Biden targets hidden ‘junk fees’ from banks, cable TV and concert tickets

WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden pledged on Wednesday to crack down on surprise fees consumers are forced to pay on cable bills, hotel rooms and concert tickets, while regulators American financiers have declared bank charges for NSF checks and overdrafts unfair.

“It’s junk fees,” President Joe Biden told reporters at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. “They benefit big business. Not consumers. Not working families. And that’s changing now.”

Biden signaled his administration would review concert tickets, hotels and airline tickets shortly after the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued guidelines that surprise overdraft fees and charges Unexpected depositors for NSF checks are probably illegal.

The White House said the move could eliminate billions in bank fees.

Overdraft fees can catch consumers off guard when their online accounts still show a positive balance, while some customers may find they owe a fee for depositing a check they didn’t know was bad , said the CFPB.

The agency said both charges likely violate the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s prohibition on unfair charges that are unavoidable for consumers.

In a fact sheet, the White House noted that bank overdraft and insufficient funds fees accounted for about $15.5 billion in revenue for banks in 2019.

Pressure from the regulator caused revenue from such fees to drop 90% at Bank of America this summer.

Biden added that the Federal Trade Commission began working on a rule last week to crack down on “unfair and misleading fees across all industries.”

He cited concert ticket processing fees and hotel resort fees as two items his administration is reviewing.

“We’re just getting started. There are tens of billions of dollars and other junk fees in the economy that I’m asking my administration to reduce or eliminate,” Biden said.

“We applaud President Biden’s advocacy for fee transparency across all sectors, including live event ticketing,” Live Nation Entertainment Inc (LYV.N) said in a statement.

“It only works if all ticketing markets are all-in together, so consumers really have accurate comparisons when buying tickets.” Shares of the company, which owns Ticketmaster, fell 4% on Wednesday.

Biden’s remarks follow a meeting of the White House Competition Council held last month, during which he ordered federal agencies to take action to reduce or eliminate hidden fees, charges and additional costs, which, he said, weighed on family budgets.

The administration has come under intense pressure to rein in inflation that has reached four-decade highs.

Editing by David Holmes and David Gregorio

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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