Junk fees—like junk food—are ever-present, annoying, and harmful. And for both junk food and junk fees, programs intended to help may not always produce desirable outcomes. Some diet plans are costly, ineffective, and lead to unintended consequences. The same is true for some regulations designed to curb junk fees.
In 2022, President Joseph R. Biden announced an initiative that called on government agencies to reduce or eliminate junk fees. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines junk fees as “unfair or deceptive fees that are charged for goods or services that have little or no added value to the consumer, including goods or services that consumers would reasonably assume to be included within the overall advertised price.” The FTC also classifies hidden fees as junk fees.
Since President Biden’s announcement, government agencies have been generating rulemaking proceedings at a rapid pace.