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The Biden administration targets junk fees

US President Joe Biden speaks about protecting consumers from junk fees, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.
US President Joe Biden speaks about protecting consumers from junk fees, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden has proposed new federal rules aimed at eliminating junk fees associated with retirement investment advice, and promoting increased competition for post-employment savings plans. In his speech on Tuesday, the president announced that the Department of Labor will close loopholes and require that financial advisers provide retirement advice in the best interest of the saver, rather than chasing the highest payday.

This is part of a larger White House initiative to stamp out junk fees and make it easier for buyers to know what they’re paying and why. Consumer advocates have applauded the administration’s actions which officials estimate cost buyers more than $64 billion each year.

But there has also been criticism. Neil Bradley, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said that the Biden administration’s crackdown on junk fees would harm consumers.

In a statement he said, “Every minute of every day, Americans engage in close to 400,000 transactions, buying and selling goods and services. It is baffling that the administration believes it is going to help consumers by regulating how businesses price all of those transactions.”

We discuss junk fees and what the moves to close loopholes mean for American consumers.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Rupert Allman