President Biden sure nailed this one
Your favorite artist is coming to town, and you’re getting psyched because you want tickets to the show. You see the price, decide you can afford it, and you start buying your tickets. You get to checkout, and suddenly, those tickets cost way more than you thought they did because the seller or venue has added what New York Times calls “sneaky fees.” Suddenly, your plans for the weekend are shot, and you can’t afford to do squat. It’s infuriating, but what can you do about it? Perhaps you can do nothing, but President Biden wants to do something about it.
President Biden announced that his administration is planning to crack down on these fees, which they appropriately call “junk fees.” New York Times explained how competitors try to use fees to “steal” business from other companies, which theoretically should reduce or eliminate the fees, but it doesn’t work. In this busy world, most have neither the time nor desire to think about fees that companies tack onto our purchases. We just want to get things done. Plus, if it’s something we really want to do, we just brush it off. Some people, however, are outraged at the fact that they went to buy a $30 ticket that ended up costing $50. The gouging isn’t limited to concert tickets. Hotels, airlines, rental cars, and virtually every other leisure industry does it, and they get away with it. Why?
New York times discussed “monopoly” as the reason that companies get away with charging these ridiculous fees, and it is pure, unadulterated greed. It’s not enough that people want to pay for escapes from everyday life, but the companies stick it to us with extra fees. Ticketmaster is a classic example of a monopoly, and even though they have been sued numerous times and paid out class action settlements, the practice continues. In other words, there’s not a damned thing we can do about it if we want to attend a show or sporting event or even take a trip.
One of the ways in which the Biden Administration is looking at to stop the gouging is antitrust, which prevents companies from being monopolies President Biden has been working on this for some time. In 2021, he signed an executive order intended to stop “corporate dominance,” which, in the administration’s view, impacts democracy. The Biden Administration continues its attempts to stop the gouging of Americans, and it is now focused on disclosure. According to NYT, disclosure requires companies to tell consumers up front what the full cost of their purchase will be, and it’s relatively easy to enforce; however, companies can simply “repackage” their fees, and the process begins again.
Obviously, it will be hard to police this behavior, and It is not likely that the government can do a whole lot because like other issues in this country, it is based on greed. If companies can simply repackage and continue to gouge, it seems hopeless. Greed is a driving factor for these practices, but how do you stop greed? If you find the answer to that, you will likely rule the world.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years