Listen, Jack — we’ve all been there. You and your buddy Corn Pop are lookin’ to get your hands on some Rotting Christ tickets for the show down at the old amphitheater in town and when you finally go to check out, those $20 tickets ballooned to $40 or $50 a piece after fees. That sort of malarky is enough to make a grown man want to rip out his leg hair, I tell ya.
Well, it turns out ol’ President Biden is trying to make that sort of thing a relic of the past, as he’s pushing to get a piece of legislation titled the Junk Fee Prevention Act through Congress. Since he doesn’t make the laws, he can only suggest them to the dysfunctional House of Representatives and Senate, he’s using his President’s Competition Council to apply pressure.
Under the act’s provisions, Biden is hoping to place limits on concert fees, as well as early cancelation fees for TV and internet services, fight to reduce excessive penalties for credit card late fees, and require that booking services like airlines list the actual price for tickets after fees.
White House officials cited a study by the Government Accountability Office that examined 31 major venues around the country, as well as five ticket providers, and found that service charges made up more than 20% of a ticket’s face value on average. Those fees could then bloat the cost by up to half the original price.
But none of this is new. We’ve been dealing with this sort of shit for years thanks to “services” like Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the latter of which had its president testify before the Senate last week. Lawmakers focused on the bungled Taylor Swift “The Eras Tour” pre-sale. Senators on both sides of the aisle are taking aim at Live Nation, calling it a monopoly that gets away with charging crazy fees because there’s no one else really around to challenge their prices and practices.
In recent months, lawmakers tried to address big tech monopolies and a lack of competition in the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which demanded that broadband internet service providers accurately disclose prices, fees, speeds, and data caps in a way that anyone could understand.
Here’s hoping this sort of attention and push for change actually leads to something. With the price of everything going up lately, it would be real nice to see something level out to reasonable levels, at least.
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