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Friday, June 14, 2024

Biden announces plan to eliminate or reduce ‘junk fees’ in US – White House

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President Joe Biden has announced a series of steps his administration plans to undertake to encourage and pressure businesses such as banks, hotels and airlines to stop charging the public “junk fees,” the White House said in a statement on the president’s remarks to on the issue of excessive fees.

“We’re requiring Internet providers to list fees upfront on clear, easy-to-read labels just like the labels on food products you buy. And now you can compare your choices easily to find the best deal that you want to go to,” Biden said in his remarks presented by the White House on Wednesday. “We also convinced major airlines to rebook cancellation flights for free rather than charging customers for rebooking. We pushed banks to ditch surprise overdraft and bounced check fees, saving Americans an estimated billion dollars a year as a consequence of that.”

Biden said he will call on Congress next to pass the Junk Fee Protection Act and ban or remove what the president said are four of the most frustrating charges that Americans face such as disallowing airlines from snatching extra money so a customer can pick a seat or sit beside their child, the White House said.

Resort and hotel fees are also being looked as is the exorbitant $200 annual early termination fee charged to switch cable, internet and cell phone plans, the White House said.

“One step that is in the works is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposing a new rule to lower credit card late fees,” Biden said. “Right now, credit card companies charge an average of $31 whenever you can’t pay your bill on time. That’s on top of the interest you’re already paying. Now, nobody is saying that you should pay or you shouldn’t pay your fees on time. And no one says the bank should lend you money for free. But that’s what banks charge interest for.”

With such changes in place, Americans can achieve billions of dollars in total savings annually, Biden said.

“Over the next few weeks, my team is going to meet with state and local officials across the country to identify things they can do to crack down on junk fees in their own jurisdictions,” Biden added.

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