Bay Area Sens. Nancy Skinner and Bill Dodd and state Attorney General Rob Bonta introduced a bill this month that would ban hidden fees for goods and services like concert tickets and hotels.
Senate Bill 478 would prevent platforms from tacking mandatory hidden surcharges like service and order processing fees onto purchases.
The bill would require sales platforms to include all required charges other than government-imposed taxes and fees as part of a good or service’s face value price.
“These junk fees cost consumers billions of dollars each year and hurt vulnerable families at a time when every dollar matters that much more,” Bonta said. “This deceptive practice also hurts businesses that are doing business the right way by being transparent about prices.”
A 2019 Consumer Reports poll found that some 85 percent of U.S. residents had faced an unexpected to hidden fee over the prior two years.
On Tuesday, Bonta and the two legislators argued that companies are attaching hidden fees to goods and services more and more frequently.
“California families are hurting, whether it’s inflation, high gas prices and then this, whether it’s a hotel, the ticket broker for a special event or the airlines who slam us with baggage fees or a fee to sit with our family,” said Skinner, D-Berkeley. “All of these are exorbitant and just too costly.”
Lawmakers will discuss the bill as soon as mid-March once it has been in print for at least a month.