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Governor Ned Lamont


Governor Lamont Urges Legislature To Pass Law Prohibiting Hidden Fees on Event Tickets, Lodging, and Food and Beverage Services

Governor’s Bill Approved by General Law Committee Last Week, Now Awaits Further Action by the Full Legislature

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont is urging the Connecticut General Assembly to approve legislation he proposed for consideration this session that will enact a new consumer rights law requiring upfront pricing on all event tickets, hotel and short-term rental accommodations, and food and beverage sale and delivery services, and accordingly prohibit the increasingly common practice of adding unexpected, mandatory hidden fees that are tacked on at the end of a consumer’s transaction.

These hidden fees, frequently known as junk fees, are often vaguely labeled as a “service fee” or “convenience fee.” It is estimated that they cost Connecticut families thousands of dollars each year and they disproportionally impact low-income families who may lack the time, resources, or financial literacy to filter through these fees or search for a competitive price.

The governor’s proposal is Senate Bill 15, An Act Requiring Fee Disclosures. It was unanimously approved last week by the members of the General Law Committee, and it now awaits further action by both chambers of the General Assembly. The governor is urging them to act on the legislation so that he can sign it into law.

“We are increasingly seeing situations in which a product or service is being advertised at a low price and then when a consumer gets to the very end of their transaction that price suddenly increases with any number of mandatory fees being tacked on, and frequently consumers will complete their purchase without even realizing the price jumped until well after it has already been finalized,” Governor Lamont said. “This proposal simply says that the price of a product or service cannot be misrepresented to consumers. Upfront pricing will ensure that consumers are able to make well-informed purchases, and it levels the playing field among competitors in these industries by requiring that they all be honest and transparent on the costs of their products and services from the get go.”

Attorney General William Tong and Consumer Protection Commissioner Bryan T. Cafferelli also support the enactment of this law, saying that if it is approved by the legislature it will be a major win for Connecticut consumers.

“Junk fees tacked on at the last minute add up to serious costs for consumers,” Attorney General Tong said. “These hidden charges make it next to impossible to compare costs and find affordable deals. Everyone hates these bait and switch charges, and I fully support the governor and the legislature in strengthening our state laws to ensure fair, transparent pricing.”

“Companies have increasingly found ways to gain more money from consumers, often by tacking on superfluous ‘service fees’ just when you’re ready to hit the final purchase button on an event ticket, hotel room, or food purchase,” Commissioner Cafferelli said. “By waiting until the last second to add on these junk fees, companies make it difficult for consumers to shop around, price compare and find the best deal. This legislation promotes open and honest transactions in the marketplace and raises consumer confidence in our retail and services industries, and putting money back in people’s pockets.”

This proposal builds on a provision included in Public Act 23-98, which the General Assembly approved and Governor Lamont signed into law last year. That law, which took effect on October 1, 2023, requires upfront disclosure of pricing for the purchase of tickets to live events, however some consumers have noted that since its enactment certain ticketing platforms continue to run advertisements or otherwise not disclose the full price of tickets until the consumer begins a transaction by selecting the tickets they want to purchase. Senate Bill 15 closes this loophole by requiring ticket platforms to disclose the full price of tickets beginning at the moment they are first advertised, displayed, or offered, even prior to the consumer selecting a ticket.

President Joe Biden, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently announced similar efforts to crack down on junk fees on a nationwide level. Governor Lamont applauds these efforts, and notes that until those federal rules are able to take effect, the states must act to protect consumers from deceptive pricing.

The General Assembly must act on the proposal prior to the adjournment of the regular session, which will occur on May 8, 2024.

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