President Biden will declare a victory in his war on “junk fees” Thursday by announcing that Live Nation Entertainment will offer upfront pricing on its Ticketmaster platform so that concertgoers are not surprised by add-on costs at the end of their shopping experience.
Live Nation said the option will be available by September. Also, the ticket platform SeatGeek will roll out “all-in pricing” this summer, and xBk, an Iowa-based venue and board member of the National Independent Venue Association, will offer a similar pledge for more than 15,000 tickets sold for more than 100 events at the venue, according to the White House.
Mr. Biden will boast about the pledges in a White House event Thursday.
The commitments come on top of efforts by AirBnB in December to show consumers all fees and costs before taxes. Several companies will discuss the results of their recent efforts to incorporate upfront pricing at the White House event.
“Together, these companies service millions of consumers each year, all of whom will receive a better shopping experience without surprise fees imposed at check-out,” the White House said in a fact sheet.
Mr. Biden declared war on so-called junk fees early in his term and reprised his complaint about hidden costs during his most recent State of the Union Address.
Concert tickets, in particular, have been a hot topic for Congress after fans of pop singer Taylor Swift and other artists faced hurdles during the ticket-buying process ahead of the summer concert season.
Beyond performance ticketing, the president has taken aim at airlines that charge families extra when they try to sit together. And he has cracked down on fees that banks charge for account overdrafts.
The battle against junk fees has broad appeal, but some Republicans say the Biden administration needs to be more surgical in its approach.
“We know that credit card late fees or overdraft charges are meant to deter certain behavior that, if not kept in check, could cause some Americans to subsidize the behavior of others. These are not ‘junk fees’ but serve a larger function within our markets and pricing schemes,” Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, said earlier this month.
He said sports and concert tickets, however, are an area of bipartisan agreement. He is pushing the TICKET Act to require all event-ticket sellers to disclose total ticket prices upfront.
“Every sports fan and concertgoer — myself included — can recall a time buying a ticket online expecting to pay an advertised price only to learn at checkout that the total cost was substantially higher because of additional fees that were not disclosed upfront,” Mr. Cruz said.
Mr. Biden and his team are characterizing their effort as part of a broader push to ease cost burdens on Americans, a theme that will likely surface as the president campaigns for a second term.
“President Biden has been working to lower costs for hardworking families by bringing down inflation, capping insulin prices for seniors, and eliminating hidden junk fees,” said Lael Brainard, director of the National Economic Council. “More companies are heeding the President’s call so that Americans know what they’re paying for upfront and can save money as a result.”
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