California Law Bans Sneaky ‘Junk Fees’ on Concert Tickets and More

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Written By Angela Angela






Getting tickets to concerts or ordering food online can sometimes be a downer. You wait in line or browse through an app, only to find out at the last minute that there’s an extra charge, making the price higher than you expected. These extra charges, often called “junk fees,” can surprise you when you’re checking out of a hotel or paying for a meal, like a sneaky healthcare surcharge.

But here’s some good news for folks in California: starting July 1st, a new law will kick in, stopping businesses from adding hidden fees to things like concert tickets or vacation packages. This law, Senate Bill 478 (SB 478), makes it illegal for businesses to show one price but then add extra fees later on, except for certain taxes and shipping costs.

California’s Attorney General, Rob Bonta, says this law is all about being clear with customers so they can make smart money choices. It’s simple: what you see is what you pay. And businesses, especially small ones, need to follow this rule.

A survey in 2023 found that many Americans were getting hit with surprise charges more often than before.

This law is a win for consumers who want to know exactly what they’re paying for, especially when every dollar counts with rising prices. But don’t expect prices to drop because of this law. Businesses will likely include these hidden fees in the upfront price instead of springing them on you later.

State Senator Bill Dodd, who helped write the bill, says the goal is to stop businesses from surprising customers with extra fees.

And when California makes a change like this, it often sets a trend for the rest of the country. So, this new law could be just the start of a bigger fight against sneaky fees.

Even President Biden has taken notice. He called out companies like Ticketmaster for their “junk fees” and promised to do something about them. This pressure from the government has already led some companies to be more upfront about their prices.

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