Urges Legislature to quickly adopt Senate Bill 478 to protect California consumers from junk fees
SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a statement in response to the call from the Biden Administration and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for states to better address the nationwide concern of hidden fees. On February 14, 2023, Attorney General Bonta, with Senator Bill Dodd and Senator Nancy Skinner, introduced Senate Bill 478 (SB 478), landmark legislation seeking to prohibit in California the practice of hiding mandatory fees, also known as junk fees. Attorney General Bonta urges the Legislature to approve the bill to provide stronger protections for Californians from the deceptive bait and switch of hidden fees.
“Transparency and full disclosure in pricing are crucial for fair competition and consumer protection,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The price you see should be the price you pay. Unfortunately, from car rental and hotel fees to concert ticket service charges, this bait-and-switch practice has become normalized in the purchasing process. It is unfair to businesses playing by the rules, and unfair to American families. With Senate Bill 478, California is heeding President Biden’s call to take action to hold businesses accountable for their deceptive and misleading practices at the expense of the financial security of consumers. My office will continue to work tirelessly to ensure an equal, level playing field and demand transparency across the board for the protection of California consumers.”
Bait-and-switch advertising to hide required fees is a significant problem facing consumers that appears to be proliferating in more and more sectors of the economy. Hidden required fees are now charged for a variety of goods and services, such as lodging, concert tickets, restaurants and food delivery, telecom and internet service, and car rentals and purchases. Hiding required fees is nothing more than a deceptive way of hiding the true cost of a good or service.
A draft of the proposed legislation is available here.