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    Biden Calls for Crackdown on ‘Junk Fees’ in State of the Union Address


    President Joe Biden devoted 19 sentences of his State of the Union speech to “junk fees,” which includes credit card late fees, service fees for concert tickets and airplane seating preferences, and is an issue he said should help relieve families’ budgets.[0] In what was probably the first reference to “junk fees” during a State of the Union address, Biden called on federal agencies to address the issue of hidden fees or junk fees, and urged Congress to pass legislation expanding on the effort.[0]

    The US government characterizes junk fees as charges that are either devised to befuddle or mislead consumers or to leverage lock-in or other types of market control.[1] “It excludes any ‘reasonable add-on fees' for additional products or services, such as upgrading to VIP seating.”[2] The White House also lists different types of junk fees under consideration by regulators, such as “mandatory” fees, “surprise fees”, and “fraudulent fees”.[3]

    The Biden administration and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are taking steps to tackle the issue of junk fees, including requiring airlines to show customers the full cost of the ticket upfront, refund travelers if a flight is delayed or canceled, and banning surprise resort fees.[4] President Biden also expressed his support for banning the hidden surcharges, saying “I know how unfair it feels when a company overcharges you and gets away with it. Not anymore.”[2]

    A Morning Consult survey shows Biden’s proposals have bipartisan support, with clear majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents saying Congress should pass laws limiting these so-called “junk fees”.[5] Democrats in Nevada’s congressional delegation, such as Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nevada) have expressed their support for the President’s bid to outlaw the fees. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has also issued a notice in July 2022 that determined that US-based air transport providers must “ensure that children who are age 13 or younger are seated next to an accompanying adult with no extra charge.”[6]

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken steps to address surprise overdraft and depositor fees charged by banks, and the Center for Responsible Lending has hailed the move as “a big step” in highlighting the harms of charges that “wreak havoc on household budgets”.[7]

    0. “Advocacy groups ask FTC to expand Biden administration efforts to rein in junk fees | The Pulse” The Progressive Pulse, 13 Feb. 2023,

    1. “What are junk fees? Ohio attorney, advocate weighs in” NBC4 WCMH-TV, 13 Feb. 2023,

    2. “Biden vows to battle Ticketmaster and airlines for sky-high ticket prices hitting Americans” Yahoo! Voices, 8 Feb. 2023,

    3. “Biden Pledged to Take On “Junk Fees.” He Should Start With Jails and Prisons.” Truthout, 11 Feb. 2023,

    4. “US airlines respond to Biden‘s SOTU Address” AeroTime, 8 Feb. 2023,

    5. “Biden's Plan to Limit ‘Junk Fees' Has Overwhelming, Bipartisan Support” Morning Consult, 15 Feb. 2023,

    6. “Biden’s plan to get rid of hidden fees and improve the economy”, 15 Feb. 2023,

    7. “What are junk fees and how might Biden tackle them?” BBC, 9 Feb. 2023,

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