‘Junk fees’ cost consumers tens of billions annually, Biden Administration says

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Leaders in Washington D.C. continue to debate the best way to address frustrating so-called “junk fees” many consumers face when shopping for things like flights and hotel rooms.

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The Biden Administration held a panel discussion Tuesday with experts from around the country on the economic benefit of cracking down on such fees.

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Whether they’re unexpected charges linked to concert tickets or airline fare, the White House says junk fees cost Americans tens of billions of dollars each year.

President Joe Biden vowed to make tackling junk fees a priority during his State of the Union Address earlier this year.

“Americans are tired of being played for suckers,” Biden said in February.

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Last year, the Department of Transportation proposed a rule that would require airlines and online booking services to show the full price of a plane ticket upfront. More recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed a rule to slash excessive credit card late fees.

Meanwhile, Republicans have argued that the CFPB is overreaching and lacks accountability.

Earlier this month, Republican Rep. from Kentucky Andy Barr described the CFPB as “the most unchecked and unaccountable agency in the entire federal government.”

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It’s fueling the debate over the best way to address the problem, and which agency should be responsible for the oversight.

President Biden is also calling on congress to take stronger action by passing the Junk Fee Prevention Act. The White House says that measure would improve fee transparency and ban junk fees.

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