Federal Trade Commission looks to ban hidden fees

(The Center Square) – The Federal Trade Commission’s latest proposal would prohibit hidden and falsely advertised fees on everything from travel to concert tickets.

The FTC launched a proceeding last year that requested public input on whether a rule would help to eliminate such charges. After getting more than 12,000 comments on how the fees affect their spending and business, the commission is seeking a new round of comments on a proposed rule.

“All too often, Americans are plagued with unexpected and unnecessary fees they can’t escape. These junk fees now cost Americans tens of billions of dollars per year – money that corporations are extracting from working families just because they can,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement. “By hiding the total price, these junk fees make it harder for consumers to shop for the best product or service and punish businesses who are honest upfront. The FTC’s proposed rule to ban junk fees will save people money and time, and make our markets more fair and competitive.”

The proposed rule would require businesses to include all mandatory fees when telling consumers a price, making it easier for consumers to shop for the lowest price. Failure to follow the rule could allow the FTC to secure refunds for harmed consumers and seek financial penalties against companies that don’t comply, according to the FTC.

The Commission voted 3-0 to approve the publication of the notice of proposed rulemaking. After the notice has been published in the Federal Register, consumers can submit comments electronically for 60 days.

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