Biden Is Suddenly Targeting Fees Costing Americans

( Biden has a bee in his bonnet about businesses that charge consumers “additional fees” for services.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden attacked hotels and airlines while pleading with Congress to curb the additional fees companies impose on customers. (Often, additional expenses incurred by a customer are companies attempting to pass costs onto a customer because of federal taxes and mandates.)

Democrats and Republicans on a Senate committee asked for more openness last week about ticket prices after Ticketmaster canceled a general-public sale for Taylor Swift concerts, leading to black market sales in the tens of thousands of dollars range.

According to Biden, congress should establish limits on airline seat assignment costs, so-called resort fees that many hotels now add to the bill, exorbitant service fees on concert and sports event tickets, and prices to transfer or cancel internet, cable, or telephone service. Biden said that it’s a burden for parents who just wish to sit close to their kid on a flight, some airlines impose an additional fee for seat selection. He said they charge more, “which is wrong, and you don’t know that coming in.”

Just before the White House Competition Committee meeting, he observed, “These unfair fees pile up.” They are often called “junk fees.”

Biden is off the mark. The leading U.S. carriers, including American, United, Delta, and Southwest, don’t impose family-seating fees, according to a spokesman for Airlines for America, a trade association representing them. However, several lower-end airlines do. “Cheap” airlines notoriously add extra costs to recoup the revenue they lose from the low-cost ticket price.

Adding resort fees, which “may be over $50 a night when you check out,” was another target of Biden’s criticism of hotels.

94% of hotels, according to a spokeswoman for the American Hotel and Lodging Association, don’t impose resort fees. The spokesperson, Curt Cashour, stated that for those that do, “it includes distinctive and tangible advantages like food and beverage credits, special events, access to pools and beaches, transportation, and spa services.”

Separately, Biden praised a new proposed rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that he said would reduce late penalties for credit cards from an average of $31 to $8.

While Biden’s other suggestions would need legislative approval, which might be challenging due to resistance from corporate groups, the White House argues that law adopted under the Obama administration allows the agency to regulate high credit card fees.