Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona introduces bill to regulate ‘junk’ transaction fees
Apr 6, 2023, 4:05 AM
(File Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PHOENIX – U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego hates the so-called “junk fees” that get tacked on with no warning at the end of certain transactions, and he wants to do something about it.
The Arizona Democrat introduced a bill recently to regulate budget-busting hidden fees for concert tickets, hotels and flights.
Gallego told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday he was motivated to introduce the legislation, in part, by his personal experiences.
“I have a son that I travel with, and the fact that I have to pay extra money for him to sit next to me, I think, is a little ridiculous,” he said.
Gallego said the bill wouldn’t ban all junk fees, but it would require businesses to reveal them up front.
“You have to be transparent, whatever your fees are,” he said. “You can’t … charge someone $80 for a concert ticket and then have an extra $30 in service fees that you don’t recognize until you’re basically toward the end of the purchasing opportunity.”
Last month, the White House brought together state lawmakers, federal officials and others to trade ideas about how to fight junk fees that inflate the cost of everything from hospital visits and airline tickets to student loans and concert seats.
The virtual meeting came after President Joe Biden said in February that his administration would work with state and local officials to identify ways to crack down on such fees. A Government Accountability Office report from 2018 on event ticket sales found that primary ticket providers charged fees averaging 27% of a ticket’s price.
Democrat Jeff Jackson of North Carolina cosponsored Gallego’s bill, and Gallego is hoping it garners bipartisan backing.
“We think our Republican colleagues should be interested in this because … it is mostly just about transparency, it’s about giving the consumer information so they can make … the best decisions for them and their family,” he said.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Luke Forstner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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