Several major companies, including Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, have committed to eliminating surprise “junk fees” in response to pressure from the Biden administration. Junk fees are additional costs that are added at the end of purchases, particularly for concert tickets, resorts, and rentals. President Joe Biden has prioritized ending this practice and recently invited representatives from Live Nation, Airbnb, SeatGeek, and others to a meeting to address the issue.
According to the White House, both Live Nation and SeatGeek agreed to display all fees upfront for ticket purchases before the meeting took place. In December, Airbnb also began including all fees in the final price following calls from the White House.
The White House stated, “The voluntary actions taken today demonstrate that companies, both large and small, recognize the importance of providing consumers with transparent, upfront pricing that includes all costs, instead of deceiving them with surprise fees during the checkout process. This is just the first step in addressing junk fees in the economy.”
President Biden expressed his satisfaction with the progress made during the meeting, stating, “This is a victory for consumers in my opinion, and it shows that our efforts to crack down on junk fees are making progress.” However, he acknowledged that more work needs to be done.
Biden initiated his campaign against junk fees nine months ago and called on private companies to take action during his State of the Union address earlier this year. The issue gained significant attention in November when customers faced excessively high prices for tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras tour.
Lael Brainard, the director of the National Economic Council, said in a statement, “President Biden has been working to reduce costs for hardworking families by tackling inflation, capping insulin prices for seniors, and eliminating hidden junk fees. More companies are responding to the president’s call, enabling Americans to know the full price upfront and save money as a result.”
Brett Goldberg, co-CEO of TickPick, expressed cautious optimism in an interview after the meeting. He believed the meeting was productive but expressed concerns that it might not go far enough. TickPick has always used all-in pricing, ensuring no surprise junk fees.
“There is a significant amount of negative sentiment surrounding ticketing, and although it doesn’t solve all the problems, the majority of what people complain about are the hidden fees,” Goldberg explained. “While the cost itself is a factor, it’s the additional blow when you’re about to make a purchase for expensive tickets and then discover that the final price is 20 to 30% higher.”