Biden praises companies for ending hidden fees

Several ticketing and travel companies are committing to get rid of hidden fees for buyers in the United States, President Joe Biden announced Thursday.

Biden made the announcement alongside representatives from private-sector companies including Airbnb, SeatGeek and Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation, all of which have pledged to provide consumers with the full price of their tickets upfront. The announcement marks a step forward in Biden’s plan to ban “junk fees” — the extra charges often applied to travel, ticket and banking transactions — as part of a broader appeal toward working-class voters.

“This deal shows collective bargaining works,” Biden said at the White House. “When employers and workers come together to agree on a deal that works for both of them, it’s good for the economy and keeping our supply chain open.”

The companies did not commit to eliminating the actual fees, promising instead to disclose them from the beginning of the transaction rather than in the final stage before payment. The issue came to national attention in November when Live Nation and its Ticketmaster subsidiary drew criticism for hidden fees, as well as widespread glitches, during sales for Taylor Swift’s latest tour.

In the last year, the president has made reducing these hidden surcharges a priority, calling for an end to junk fees in hisState of the Union address in February. He called on Congress to pass a “Junk Fee Prevention Act,” and has also asked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Transportation Department to increase their oversight on hidden charges.

“The companies represented here today are voluntarily committed to all-in, upfront pricing,” Biden said. “Some of them have used this process for years, like TickPick, Dice and the Newport Festival Foundation. Tens of millions of fans have already benefited from this decision. Others, like Airbnb, have started giving customers the option of seeing all-in prices since we called for action last year, and other businesses are committing today.”

The White House event followed aThursday-morning announcement from Biden that Live Nation had committed to introduce an “upfront all-in pricing experience” in September. Ticketing companies SeatGeek and xBk will also begin introducing all-in pricing models.

Biden has continued to call for action from Congress, requesting legislation that mandates upfront pricing for all ticketing companies and eliminates early termination fees from cable, internet and cellphone companies. Biden has also advocated for the elimination of family seating fees on airlines, and recently commended Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines and American Airlines for committing to fee-free family seating in light of his State of the Union address.

The president recognized several ticketing companies — including Airbnb, SeatGeek and Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation — at the White House.  

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