CFC in the news: FTC proposes new rule to ban junk fees, offer transparent pricing

ABC 7 || Story by Michael Finney

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Buy a ticket to nearly any sporting event and you could be hit with junk fees.

Complaints about add-on fees for concerts are legendary. Many San Francisco restaurants charge add-on fees that are only disclosed on the bottom of the menu. If you want to do something fun, there is probably a junk fee attached, but they go further than that: cable bills have been seen with junk fees. Cell phone bills are famous for them. Airlines and hotels, too.

The frustration was summed up by President Biden during his State of the Union address.

“Americans are tired of being played for suckers,” the President said.

Now the Federal Trade Commission has issued proposed rules that will reel in the practice of playing hide and seek with prices.

“These are fees that have really plagued consumers, almost every consumer has encountered them in one way or another,” says Robert Herrell, the executive director of the Consumer Federation of California. “And it’s a really simple, elegant, proposed rule. And we think it’s going to be very effective, and we’re very supportive of it.”

Take a look at it for yourself. The new rule states on page 135: “…businesses that offer, display, or advertise an amount a consumer may pay must display the Total Price more prominently than any other pricing information…”

“People need to know upfront, how much it’s going to cost,” Herrell says. “That’s basic simple fairness, that’s common sense. And this rule overwhelmingly accomplishes that.”

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