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Hidden fees might not be so hidden anymore thanks to new California bill

Junk fees might soon be a story from the past

NBC Universal, Inc.

Hidden fees also known as junk fees come with many purchases, from concert tickets to hotel rooms and pretty much any other online service. But, a new state bill could have these additional charges handled differently in California.

The Truth in Advertising Bill” or SB478 was coauthored by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and has the backing of California Attorney General Rob Bonta who said, “the price advertised, should be the price you pay.” 

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As a consumer, you might fall into the temptation of a good offer, but when it comes to paying the final price, you find yourself paying additional charges that in most cases you did not expect -- from convenience fees, access fees, service fees and more.

Typically a seller uses an artificially low headline price to attract a customer and then either discloses the additional required fees in smaller print or reveals additional unavoidable charges later in the buying process.

The bill would make it illegal to advertise, display, or offer a price for a good or service that does not include all of these mandatory fees or charges up front. The only exclusions are taxes or fees imposed by the government.

Companies that fail to comply with the new rules could face steep financial penalties.

This Tuesday, the state legislature approved the bill, sending it to Governor Newsom's desk for signing. If Newsom signs the bill, the new law will go into effect July 1, 2024. 

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