STATEMENT: Ticketmaster, Airbnb, SeatGeek promise to end surprise junk fees

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WASHINGTON – Some of the most prominent companies in industries often criticized for unexpected junk fees have vowed to stop charging them, the White House announced Thursday. Representatives from Ticketmaster’s parent Live Nation, Airbnb, SeatGeek and others in the entertainment and hospitality industries met with President Joe Biden, who earlier this year called for a crackdown on junk fees that consumers often encounter at the last moment or after a transaction.

Beyond the president’s appeal, Congress has applied pressure on these companies with the recent introduction of the Junk Fee Prevention Act . In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to create and enforce  new rules about junk fees..

In response, Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog at U.S. PIRG Education Fund, said: 

“This is a huge win for consumers. Families’ budgets are tight, but people want to have the normal summer travel and fun that they’ve missed the last few years because of COVID.

“It’s unfortunate that it took enormous pressure from Washington to get industry leaders to act responsibly, but we hope this will lead other companies to adopt policies of honesty and transparency. Let’s be clear: When some businesses don’t disclose all fees, it hurts consumers and companies that do.

“There are no circumstances where a reasonable person could think it’s OK for a business to reveal only part of the cost of a product or service upfront. Yet, this has been the practice among many companies for years. It’s not OK to slip in fees at the last minute, or bury them in the fine print of a 10-page document, or give them official-sounding names so consumers don’t realize they’re optional.

“The elimination of surprise junk fees shouldn’t be limited to entertainment and hospitality companies. There are many industries, including airlines, retailers and banking, that can and should do better. Being transparent about pricing isn’t too much to ask.”

For tips on how to avoid and fight junk fees, see our consumer guide.