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On Your Side: Biden Administration targets 'junk fees'

On Your Side: Biden Administration tackles 'junk fees'
On Your Side: Biden Administration tackles 'junk fees' 03:22

The Biden Administration wants to trash so-called "junk fees," and has spent the past year slowly chipping away at them. But will the president's efforts really help consumers?

"Junk fees" are those pesky, often surprise charges that can really add up on things like hotel rooms, concert tickets and airplane fares.

President Biden has said he is going after these fees because "folks are tired of being played for suckers."

Overdraft fees on bank accounts are one of the areas Biden has focused on, and many of the big banks have lowered those fees.

A Bankrate survey found that on average, overdraft fees fell 11 percent from last year, when those fees hit an all-time high.

Still, Bankrate found that 96 percent of the accounts they surveyed still had overdraft fees, totaling on average close to $30. The White House is trying to cap those fees at $8.

Biden's effort to have more transparency with the true price of event tickets -- from concerts to sports -- has had more success. Major players like Live Nation and Ticketmaster have committed to making it easier for consumers to compare "all-in" ticket prices.

But when it comes to resort fees on hotels or extra fees on airline tickets, such as paying to choose your seat, Bankrate analyst Ted Rossman thinks the corporations will just raise prices to offset those costs.

"I'm a bit cynical on this," said Rossman. "I don't think that people will save much, if any, money. I do think transparency is a good thing, to the extent that we can know this 'all-in' pricing. Even there, though, some people say that it's actually easier to raise prices when things are bundled together, because it kind of hides some of the individual line items."

Just last week, the White House announced it's working with companies like Zillow and to be open about all the fees renters could be charged with when they sign a lease -- from application fees to pet deposits and paying for a background check or for a parking spot.

There is some pushback from the industry, however, saying these fees are the cost of doing business.

Biden has also called on Congress to pass a Junk Fee Prevention Act. Both the House and the Senate introduced those in the spring, but they're still working on them.

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