Many Americans pay hundreds of dollars monthly of “junk fees”—add-ons to rental cars, resorts, and airlines.
- A 2019 Consumer Reports survey found 85% of Americans have experienced and complained about these fees.
- The fees quite often are the hidden and unexpected fees Americans pay daily that can sometimes total hundreds of dollars a month.
- The fees cover services that many consumers assume are part of the overall service they are paying for—such as resort fees for hotels and seat-changing fees for airports.
- The fees are significant revenue generators for the businesses and sometimes enable them to keep the cost of the actual service lower—and add these fees on if the consumer elects to select the service. U.S. hotels made an estimated $2.9 billion in resort fees in 2018, and airlines made $8.6 billion in seat change and baggage fees in 2019.
- Some fees, however, are not optional—such as a resort fee that a guest must pay even if he elects not to use the provided towels or swim in the pool.
Why it’s news
Many Americans are charged multiple added fees that add up quickly, bringing unexpected charges each month.
These fees are extra charges added to everyday products or services. The charges are typically called a service fee or another form of fee added to purchases.
Some examples include service fees attached to entertainment tickets, airline seat-changing fees, resort fees for towel use near a pool, and early termination fees for TV, internet, and phone services.
The fees are often not shown in the original price, so consumers are surprised when the total cost is well above the predicted price due to hundreds of dollars in fees that were likely revealed in small print.
The businesses who charge the fees argue that they are to pay for a provided service—resort fees cover the cost of towels, change-seat fees cover the added cost of labor required to make alterations to reservations, and concert-ticket fees pay for the service of providing the access to a performance over and above what the performer and venue receive.
The Biden administration wants to eradicate these fees.
The president calls for the passage of a Junk Fee Prevention Act, which would prevent companies from adding such fees and in some case would simply limit how much the charges would be.