In response to pressure from the Biden administration, several major companies, including Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, have committed to eliminating surprise “junk fees.”
Junk fees refer to additional costs that are added at the end of purchases, particularly for concert tickets, resorts, and rentals. President Joe Biden has made it a priority to end this practice and invited representatives from Live Nation, Airbnb, SeatGeek, and others to a meeting on Thursday.
Prior to the meeting, both Live Nation and SeatGeek agreed to display all fees upfront for ticket purchases, according to the White House. In December, Airbnb started including all fees in the final price following calls from the White House.
“The voluntary actions taken today demonstrate that companies, both large and small, recognize the importance of providing consumers with transparent, upfront pricing that includes all costs, instead of deceiving them with surprise fees during the checkout process,” stated the White House. “This is just the first step in addressing junk fees in the economy.”
“This is a victory for consumers in my opinion, and it shows that our efforts to crack down on junk fees are making progress,” said Biden on Thursday after the meeting, while acknowledging that more needs to be done.
Biden began his campaign against junk fees nine months ago and included a call for private companies to take action in his State of the Union address earlier this year. The issue gained significant attention in November when customers faced excessively high prices for tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras tour.
“President Biden has been working to reduce costs for hardworking families by tackling inflation, capping insulin prices for seniors, and eliminating hidden junk fees,” said Lael Brainard, the director of the National Economic Council, in a statement. “More companies are responding to the president’s call, enabling Americans to know the full price upfront and save money as a result.”
Brett Goldberg, co-CEO of TickPick, expressed cautious optimism in an interview after the meeting, stating that he believed it was productive but expressed concerns that it might not go far enough. TickPick has always used all-in pricing, ensuring no surprise junk fees.
“There is a significant amount of negative sentiment surrounding ticketing, and although it doesn’t solve all the problems, the majority of what people complain about are the hidden fees,” Goldberg explained. “While the cost itself is a factor, it’s the additional blow when you’re about to make a purchase for expensive tickets and then discover that the final price is 20 to 30% higher.”
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