(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden hosted a meeting with executives from Live Nation, Airbnb, Seat Geek and others Thursday afternoon to continue his administration’s efforts to use the power of the bully pulpit to tackle so-called “junk fees.”
Biden, who announced his re-election bid earlier this year, has made providing economic relief to Americans a focus of early campaign ads.
Thursday’s announcement makes no effort to actually reduce junk fees, or added costs that can surprise consumers by driving up price tags, but Biden declared the upfront pricing as a victory.
“This is real transparency, which leads to more competition, brings down costs for working Americans,” Biden said at a roundtable with business executives seated beside him.
As part of Thursday’s announcement, Live Nation is pledging to roll out “upfront all-in” pricing starting in September.
“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,” Biden added.
Ticketmaster, which came under intense scrutiny last year after demand for Taylor Swift concert tickets caused a site meltdown, will also include an option for consumers to view “all-in pricing” as well via a new website feature. Live Nation and Ticketmaster are owned by the same company.
The White House is also highlighting steps some companies have already taken to make pricing more transparent, like Airbnb’s planned December rollout of a new total price display tool that allows U.S. consumers to see all fees before taxes.
The president made another call for action to other leaders in the private sector to take similar steps.
“I’m asking their competitors to follow suit and adopt an all-in upfront pricing as well. This is — this is a win for consumers, in my view, and proof that our crackdown on junk fees has real momentum,” he said.
Biden has been trying to tackle these surprise fees for months, speaking out against them in his State of the Union address in February.
“Junk fees may not matter to the very wealthy, but they matter to most folks in homes like the one I grew up in. They add up to hundreds of dollars a month,” Biden said. “They make it harder for you to pay the bills or afford that family trip. I know how unfair it feels when a company overcharges you and gets away with it.”
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