President Joe Biden announced Wednesday new advances in its “competition agenda” for reduce so-called “junk fees” or hidden fees that are imposed on Americans on credit cards, plane tickets, tickets to concerts and sporting events, telephone and Internet services, and hotels.
The president announced two new actions on these fees on Wednesday, during the fourth meeting of his Competition Council to promote economic fairness.
The first action would reduce “excessive credit card late fees.”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau plans to reduce late fees from the typical fee of $31 to $8, which the administration estimates could save consumers up to $9 billion a year.
“Today’s rule proposes to reduce those fees from $31 on average to $8. That change is expected to save tens of millions of dollars for Americans,” Biden said during the White House meeting.
The second action announced Wednesday could give consumers more control over their mobile devices.
The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which released a report Wednesday, calls for changes that will boost competition for mobile app developers and also cited the need to help consumers get apps outside of the current app store model, controlled by Apple and Google.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Biden also called on Congress to pass the Junk Fee Protection Actto eliminate the hidden or unexpected fees Americans pay every day that can run into the hundreds of dollars a month.
“And today, I am calling on Congress to pass the Junk Fee Protection Act to ban four of the most frustrating charges facing Americans,” Biden said.
Among the four junk fees the president wants to ban are airlines that overcharge passengers to select a seat so they “can sit close to their child” and secondly, those of hotels that charge fees that do not appear in the sales price and that “can exceed $50 dollars per night”.
“And third, that you should be able to change your internet, cable or cell phone plan without the $200 early termination penalty that some of these companies charge,” the president added.
“And fourth, the huge service fees that companies like TicketMaster charge on tickets to concerts and sporting events that can easily add up to hundreds of dollars a night for a family must be reduced,” Biden said.
“Over the next few weeks, my team will be meeting with state and local officials across the country to identify what they can do to lower garbage fees in their own jurisdictions,” said Biden, who asked all service providers to list fees in advance with “clear, easy-to-read labels.”
Biden reviewed what the Competition Council has accomplished since its September 2022 meeting, when the president urged agencies to focus on reducing hidden junk fees in the sale of products and services.
“We have convinced major airlines to rebook canceled flights for free, instead of charging customers to rebook,” Biden said.
“We have pressured banks to stop imposing surprise overdraft fees and bad checks, saving Americans an estimated billions of dollars a year,” Biden added.
“We took a big step toward promoting competition in the labor market last month when the Federal Trade Commission proposed a rule that prohibits non-compete agreements for 30 million Americans,” the president said.
“Look, the end result is this. These fees add up,” Biden said. “It’s a basic issue of equity, and with the help of the people in this room, we’re going to continue to build an economy that’s fair, competitive, and works for everyone.”
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Source: La Opinion