President Biden on Protecting Consumers from Hidden Junk Fees

Washington, DC…Before I begin, I want to thank everyone involved in reaching a tentative agreement at our ports on the West Coast. This deal shows collective bargaining works. When employers and workers come together to agree on a deal that works for both of them, it’s good for the economy and keeping our supply chain open.

A special thanks to Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, who used to — her deep experience and judgment to keep parties talking throughout the negotiations. And this is going to have a real positive impact on trade.

She — she’s shown she’s a true leader, and I think she should be confirmed. She’s up — I think she’s up in the Senate today for a hearing — her confirmation hearing.

And I want to thank both sides for staying at the table and reaching a deal. And a special thanks to the longshore workers who worked historically through this pandemic, and it was really heroically as well. And — and we finally get — they’re going to get the pay, and the benefits, and the quality they deserve.

Now, to the purpose of our meeting today.

In my State of the Union Address, I outlined our fight against junk fees — to end junk fees: these hidden charges that companies sneak into your bill to make you pay more and without you really knowing it initially.

Junk fees are not a matter for the wealthy very much, but they’re a matter for working folks, like the homes I grew up in. And they can add hundreds of dollars a month and make it harder for families to pay their bills. I think it’s just wrong.

My administration has also taken a number of steps to crack down on junk fees by reducing overdrafts by $5.5 billion a year and bounced checks cost by another $2 billion a year. That’s real money.

And we’re seeking to require airlines to refund money and give you additional compensation, like cash or travel vouchers, if your flight is canceled or delayed.

These actions matter, and it’s inspiring companies to change their practices.

Today I’m pleased to announce there is even more progress. One of the major categories of junk fees are ones that companies charge right at the end of the purchasing process, after you’ve already spent the time comparing your options. The solution is — the — the solution is what is called “all-in pricing.” And that’s where companies fully disclose their fees upfront when you start shopping so you’re not surprised at the end when you check out.

The companies represented here today are voluntarily committing to all-in, upfront pricing. Some of them have used this process for years to sell tickets — events — like ticktock — TickPick — excuse me — DICE, and Newport Festival Foundation. Tens of millions of fans have already benefitted from their decision.

Others, like Airbnb, have started giving customers the option of seeing all-in prices since we called for action last year, and other businesses are committing today.

Starting in September, Live Nation will automatically list all the prices upfront for all tickets to events at more than 200 venues of its own, benefitting over 30 million customers. And it will give customers the option of an all-in price for all other tickets sold on its platform.

The ticket seller, SeatGreek [SeatGeek], is also set to give customers the option of seeing all-in, upfront prices.

And I’m pleased we’re also joined by x-pay [sic] — xBk, a small venue in Des Moines, Iowa, that’s going be using all upfront pricing for its hundred events at — a year as well.

Folks, we’re just at the latest private-sector — we — these are just the latest private-sector leaders who are responding to my call for action. And I’m asking their competitors to follow suit and adopt an all-in, upfront pricing as well.

This is — this a win for consumers, in my view, and proof that our crackdown on junk fees has real momentum. But there’s more to do to address the problem of online ticketing to prote- — to — excuse me — to address the problems in the online ticketing industry and to get [rid of] junk fees across all industries.

I want to thank members of Congress who are working on legislation to address these junk fees in ticketing, lodging, and other industries.

This is real transparency, which leads to more competition, brings down costs for working Americans, keeps growing our economy from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down.

And I’m going to now turn it over to Lael, our director of my National Economic Council, to start our discussion.

So, thank you.

Q Mr. President, can you tell us what you want Blinken to achieve in China, sir? What would you like Blinken to achieve in China, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I’ve spoken with him. And — but we’ll talk about that later. That’s not what this is about.

Q And on the cyberattack today, sir — can you say anything about the cyberattack today for us?


Q President Biden, why is (inaudible)? Why did the Ukraine and FBI informant file refer to you as the “Big Guy,” President Biden? Why is that term continuously applied?

THE PRESIDENT: Why do you ask such a dumb question?