Biden Takes Aim at 'Junk Fees' for Concert Tickets, Hotel Rooms and Banking

The president says he's targeting fees such as "those huge termination charges to stop you from switching cable and internet plans to a better deal."

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
2 min read
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US President Joe Biden has unveiled his administration's latest goal: making hotel, concert ticket and banking "junk fees" illegal.

Some examples of these "unfair hidden fees" given by Biden were bounced check charges, bank overdraft fees, credit card late fees, resort charges at hotels, processing fees for concert tickets and "those huge termination charges to stop you from switching cable and internet plans to a better deal," Biden said Wednesday. 

"These are junk fees. They're unfair, and they hit marginalized Americans the hardest, especially low-income folks and people of color. They benefit big corporations, not consumers, not working families," the president said. "Today's actions are going to save consumers more than $1 billion each year."

Here's what's being done now:

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued guidance on Wednesday that effectively bans surprise overdraft fees when customers have been told they had sufficient funds, and also depositor fees for checks that bounce. The guidance explains that these practices are unfair and unlawful. 
  • The CFPB is also now developing rules on other banking and credit card fees. 
  • The Federal Trade Commission last week voted to begin a rule-making process to reduce junk fees across event ticketing, hotels and funeral homes.

Last month, the Department of Transportation similarly proposed a new set of rules proposed by the Biden administration that would see airlines disclose "surprise fees" up front.

Under that proposal, the first time airlines display their flight price to potential customers, they'd have to disclose fees for baggage, changes, cancellations and sitting with your children. They'd also have to provide refunds for services that passengers paid for but didn't receive -- like if the onboard Wi-Fi is busted.