United States

Mayes backs federal rule against controversial ‘junk fees’

(The Center Square) – Attorney General Kris Mayes is in support of a crackdown on “junk fees.”

Junk fees are added charges that are typically not shown until a purchase is right about to be made, and it may not serve a clear purpose. The Federal Trade Commission is pushing for a Trade Regulation Rule on Unfair or Deceptive Fees in order to prevent companies employing the controversial practice.

“The price advertised by a business should be the price paid by a consumer and businesses should be fully transparent about the nature and purpose of fees,” Mayes said in a statement last week. “Using ‘bait and switch’ pricing and junk fees is unfair and deceptive to consumers. I strongly support the FTC’s proposed rule on this issue as it will help ensure Arizonans aren’t misled or tricked into paying more than expected.”

Mayes is one of 19 other Attorneys Generals who wrote a letter in support of the rule, citing examples from cable companies to hotels to even ticket companies that use these fees.

“If a business wants a consumer to part with their hard-earned money and purchase a good or service, that business should be forthright about how much the good or service costs, in total, from the very beginning, and in clear terms,” the comment letter states.

Policy discussion around the fees skyrocketed after Taylor Swift fans faced issues getting tickets to her tour through Ticketmaster in 2022.

On the state level, Rep. Analise Ortiz voiced her opposition to the fees in December.

“Large corporations unfairly charge Arizona consumers loads of bogus junk fees, nickel and diming those who can least afford it,” Ortiz said in a statement at the time. “Under my bill, the price you see is the price you pay — period. Businesses should compete on providing the best service at the lowest price, not on coming up with new ways to trick and frustrate consumers with deceptive fees.”

The Attorney General’s office also announced a $13 million settlement with Cox Communications in January over questionable charges made to customer’s accounts. Cox was used as one of the examples in the aforementioned comment letter to the FTC for “failing to adequately disclose additional fees.”

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