Joe Biden To Call For Congress To Place Limits On Concert Ticket Fees, TV And Internet Providers’ Early Termination Charges

President Joe Biden wants limits placed on concert ticket fees and TV and internet providers’ early termination charges, as the White House seizes on the practices as a sign of lack of competition in various business sectors.

Biden will announce the proposals at a meeting of the President’s Competition Council on Wednesday. Also being highlighted is a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule to curb excessive credit card late fees, and a Department of Transportation rule to require airlines and booking sites to show the full price of an airline ticket upfront.

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Additional proposals would be part of a Junk Fee Prevention Act, legislation that targets an array of fees placed on consumers.

The White House’s focus on concert ticket prices follows a Senate hearing last week that focused on that issue and competition in the ticketing industry, as lawmakers grilled Live Nation President Joe Berchtold about subsidiary Ticketmaster. The company reportedly is under investigation by the Justice Department, which has a consent decree in place stemming from its 2010 merger.

The White House cited a GAO review of 31 different sporting events across five ticket sellers’ websites and noted that service charges amounted to more than 20% of the ticket’s face value. Total fees reached up to more than half of the cost of the ticket itself. The Biden administration also claimed lack of competition in the industry, referring to a 2018 report in The New York Times that Live Nation has exclusive partnerships with 80 of the top 100 arenas in the United States.

Biden’s proposal would call for legislation to ban the excessive fees, require that they be disclosed in the ticket price and require that any “ticket holdbacks” be disclosed. The issue was in the spotlight in November, when the excess demand for Taylor Swift tickets saw fans locked out of presales, while a public sale was canceled. Berchtold blamed it on a bot attack.

Another proposal would be for legislation to limit the early termination fees imposed by cable TV, internet and mobile phone providers, as the White House argues that they prevent new companies from entering the market.

Other aspects of Biden’s proposals include restrictions on hotel “destination fees” or “resort fees,” and another banning airlines from charging family members to sit next to young children.

The FCC recently adopted rules, mandated by the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, that require broadband providers to display easy-to-understand labels, so that consumers can compare prices and plans, as well as speeds and data allowances. The broadband providers must display the labels on their websites or other areas where they are selling service. The labels do not need to be displayed in mass marketing or before consumers select their service location.

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