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Biden to take on ‘junk fees’ as part of his plan to combat inflation

President Biden on Wednesday announced that the administration will take on so-called junk fees as a way to help bring down costs for Americans during high inflation.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is taking new steps to eliminate billions in banking fees, hidden charges and added fees on cable bills, airline tickets and hotel bookings.

“Today my administration is announcing new actions to lower the costs of everyday living for American families, to put more money in the pockets of middle income and working class Americans, to hold big corporations accountable,” Biden said in remarks at the White House.

The president said these fees are “taking real money out of your pockets” and specifically pointed to surprise banking overdraft fees, hidden hotel booking fees and termination charges to stop people from changing cable plans.

And, he said he “appreciates the frustration of the American people” during this time of high inflation, adding that while gas prices are coming down — and averaging $3.39 a gallon — he is taking steps for households to save more money.

“One of the things that I think frustrates the American people is they know the world is in a bit of disarray, they know that Putin’s war has imposed an awful lot of strains on Europe and the rest of the world and the United States, everything from him blocking grain shipments and oil,” he said. “And they want to know, what are we doing. And, there’s a lot going on that we’re doing and it adds up.”

The president last month called on the White House Competition Council to look at companies that are using complicated algorithms to hide fees and to make it clear that it’s illegal to charge people if a check bounces or to issue surprise overdraft fees if a bank is slow to process charge.

“Each year, these junk fees … cost Americans tens of billions of dollars, weighing down family budgets and making it hard for people to pay their bills,” Biden said.

He was joined in his remarks by Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission.

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