Bob Morgan illinois state representative

New Legislation Would Eliminate Junk Fees in Illinois

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                     

February 29, 2024                                                               

 

Contact: Michael Cotter

mike@repbobmorgan.com

Office: 847-780-8471

 

New Legislation Would Eliminate Junk Fees in Illinois

If passed, legislation would create transparency around pricing and eliminate fees that can cost an average family of four over $3,000 per year

 

Springfield, IL –  State Representative Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield), State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago), the Illinois Attorney General, and advocates from Economic Security Illinois and American Economic Liberties Project are proud to announce a significant milestone in the fight against predatory pricing practices. Mirroring national policies from the Biden Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the American Economic Liberties Project,  Rep. Morgan and Sen. Aquino have introduced new legislation to eliminate exploitative “junk fees” in Illinois, connecting it with a national movement. The legislation was drafted in collaboration with and is supported by the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

If passed, HB 4629/ SB 3331 would expand consumer protections by giving the Attorney General’s office more power under the law to go after companies that charge consumers junk fees. This legislation would also require companies to transparently post the price of fees, so that consumers are not deceived into buying a product or service for one price, when the actual price is higher than advertised. With newly amended language, the bill would now arm the Illinois Attorney General’s office with the necessary tools to increase transparency around fees and ensure fair competition among Illinois businesses.

Junk fees are compulsory and hidden charges added by corporations at the end of transactions that have plagued the American economy, causing consumers to lose tens of billions annually. These fees are often labeled as “convenience” or “processing” fees, and appear without reason or benefit to the consumer, distorting fair and transparent markets. An analysis by Consumer Reports found that an average family of four can lose approximately $3,200 a year on junk fees. In line with policies being adopted by states across the country, this bill would prevent this practice in Illinois, and protect Illinois families. 

“This legislation marks a crucial step in protecting consumers and fostering fair competition in Illinois,” said State Representative Bob Morgan. “We are committed to eradicating predatory practices that harm consumers and small businesses. In Illinois, we want to be sure that the price you see advertised is the price you pay.” 

“Junk fees are more than a nuisance; hidden fees deceptively take money from working families, with the most pernicious impact on low-income households and people of color, especially when English is not their first language,” said State Senator Omar Aquino. “With this bill, we can get rid of this gross practice, and ensure that companies doing business in our state post real prices or face legal repercussions.” 

“Hidden and junk fees drive up the price of goods and frustrate consumers to no end, decreasing trust in the marketplace and putting honest businesses at a disadvantage,” Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “My office’s Consumer Protection Division will continue to go after bad actors who exploit consumers for their financial gain. We welcome efforts at the state and federal level to increase transparency, ensure businesses of all sizes can compete fairly and protect consumers from junk fees.” 

“We know that American families are subject to up to $3,200 annually in junk fees that have nothing to do with the service or product,” said Ameya Pawar, Senior Advisor at the Economic Security Project and Economic Security Illinois. “Cracking down on junk fees ensures Illinois households keep more of their hard-earned money and keep that money flowing through Illinois small businesses.” 

“Deceptive junk fees cost Illinois families thousands of dollars per year and harm the honest Illinois businesses that offer transparent prices,” said Pat Garofalo, Director of State and Local Policy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “We’re thrilled to see Sen. Aquino and Rep. Morgan introduce this important bill, and we hope to see Illinois become a leader in the nationwide movement to throw junk fees in the trash.”

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