Chamber Falsely Claims Consumers ‘Satisfied’ With Surprise Fees

Washington D.C. – Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a misleading public comment opposing the proposed rule from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that would prohibit industry from hiding mandatory fees from the advertising price on everyday transactions like booking hotels, buying a concert ticket, renting an apartment, and more – a move expected to lower costs for consumers by more than $10 billion over the next decade. Nowhere in its 31-page commentary does the U.S. Chamber mention that its board of directors includes Katherine Lugar, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Hilton Hotels & Resorts, which was sued in December 2023 by Travelers United in D.C. Federal Court for “not disclos[ing] the full costs of its hotel rooms upfront, luring customers in with lower rates and then applying fees in excess of $35 per day at the end of the booking process.”

The top corporate advocacy group also baselessly claimed consumers are ‘more likely’ to be happy with the status quo of being price-gouged with surprise, exorbitant charges on their bills: “The structure of pricing, and the level of prices, should be determined by competition in the marketplace. Competition over pricing structures is more likely to satisfy consumer preferences than overbroad regulatory requirements.”

In reality, the majority of the 12,000 comments received by the FTC regarding the proposed rule banning junk fees “expressly supported government action or described negative experiences relating to fees.”  

The U.S. Chamber pretends to be on consumers’ side while pushing the agenda of its hotel giant board member sued for hiding high-cost resort fees from their guests. The Chamber’s desperate attempt to preserve surprise junk fees has nothing to do with ‘satisfying’ consumers and everything to do with padding profits and enriching CEOs. To try to stop the Biden administration from lowering costs for families by tens of billions of dollars, the U.S. Chamber has invented a mythical consumer who doesn’t want businesses to be upfront about what they intend to charge.”

Accountable.US’ Liz Zelnick
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