President Joe Biden highlighted progress in chipping away at so-called junk fees as a “win for consumers” Thursday, as he met at the White House with executives from Live Nation, Airbnb and other companies that have taken steps to embrace more transparent pricing.
Biden prioritized the effort to combat surprise or undisclosed fees in his State of the Union address and has called for legislation, regulation and private sector action to end them. The president, at Thursday's event, praised actions by companies that have eliminated or plan to eliminate those surprise fees.
The consumer advocacy push is part of Biden's pitch to voters ahead of his 2024 reelection bid that government can help improve their lives in big and small ways.
At the White House, Live Nation, which is based in Beverly Hills, California, announced that it will provide customers with upfront all-in pricing — meaning the actual purchase price including service charges and any other fees — for its owned venues by September and that Ticketmaster will give consumers the option to view all-in pricing up front for other venues on the live-entertainment tickets platform. SeatGeek, based in New York, will also unveil features to make it easier to browse for tickets with the true cost displayed.
San Francisco-based Airbnb rolled out its all-in pricing tool in December, after Biden first called on companies to stop hiding fees.
“These are just the latest private sector leaders who are responding to my call to action," Biden said, saying junk fees "can add hundreds of dollars a month and make it harder for families to pay their bills.”
“I’m asking their competitors to follow suit and adopt an all-in pricing as well," Biden said. “These actions matter and it’s inspiring companies to change their practices."
National Economic Council director Lael Brainard said in a statement that the president “has been working to lower costs for hardworking families by bringing down inflation, capping insulin prices for seniors, and eliminating hidden junk fees.”
"More companies are heeding the President’s call so that Americans know what they’re paying for up front and can save money as a result.”