Junk fee ban approved by California lawmakers heads to Newsom

Unwanted fees, those extra costs that often surprise consumers, are expected to be banned in California next year.

All that remains is a signature from Gov. Gavin Newsom after Senate Bill 478 received final approval from state lawmakers Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Senators Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and supported by Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta would ban hidden fees, commonly encountered when shopping online.

Companies would be forced to advertise the true cost of a purchase rather than luring consumers with a low price and then hitting them with a series of fees.

Companies that do not comply face heavy financial penalties.

Unwanted fees are a particular problem in the travel and entertainment industries, with tickets and hotel rooms advertised at a single price, but ending up costing much more once the “service” or “service” fees are paid. treatment” added.

“For too long, Californians have been hit with dishonest accusations that seemingly applied to everything,” Dodd said in a statement. “It’s time to put the consumer first and create a level playing field for companies that advertise the real price up front.

Bonta called the passage “a victory for Californians.”

“I am sponsoring this bill to end hidden fees because the price consumers see should be the price they pay,” Bonta said in a statement.

President Biden, in his State of the Union address earlier this year, also denounced the practice of adding hidden fees, promoting the Unwanted Fees Prevention Act.

“My administration is also taking care of junk fees, those hidden surcharges that too many companies use to make you pay more,” Biden said in his speech. “For example, we ask airlines to tell you the full ticket price in advance and to refund you if your flight is canceled or delayed.

“Unwanted fees may not matter to the very wealthy,” he said, “but they matter to most people living in homes like the one I grew up in.”

According to Dodd’s office, Americans pay a total of $28 billion in unwanted fees per year, and 85 percent of them experience the practice.

If signed by Newsom, the bill would take effect July 1, 2024.


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