HomeTop StoriesHow Ohio lawmakers plan to crack down on 'junk fees'

How Ohio lawmakers plan to crack down on ‘junk fees’

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A bill at the Statehouse aims to help Ohioans save money by requiring more transparency for “junk fees.”

House Bill 537, sponsored by Reps. Michele Grim (D-Toledo) and Munira Abdullahi (D-Columbus), would prohibit a supplier from advertising, displaying or offering a price for a good or service that does not include all mandatory fees and charges.

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“Junk fees are unexpected and often hidden fees that companies pile on all kinds of products and services just because they can,” says Grim. “Allegations that have nothing to do with anything and have no justification other than companies wanting more of our money.”

The charges often come in the form of a “service fee,” “processing fee,” or “convenience fee” when you check out and can add a few extra dollars to what you thought the fee might be.

“These charges can pop up when you pay to buy a car, pay your credit card or cell phone bill, get an order delivered for dinner or even when you pay your rent,” Grim said.

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“These allegations are often vague or minimal, but they are true,” Abdullahi said.

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Abdullahi said the “bad economic actors” who charge the fees and don’t disclose them in advance are adding to the already difficult times Ohioans are facing.

“Our hope is to ease the economic burden on our constituents by mandating transparency,” she said.

Grim said Americans spend an estimated $90 billion a year on “junk costs.”

“The money Ohio families lose from junk fees is money we don’t save, invest or spend on actual goods and services,” Grim said. “Because these charges are often not disclosed or explained, we often only realize that this money has been charged for this purpose.”

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The bill would apply to any business, with a few exceptions, such as government taxes, as fees are disclosed before the supplier accepts payment.

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The bill’s sponsors said there has not yet been any specific opposition to the bill from lawmakers, and they are still working on the details of how it can be effectively mandated for companies that provide services both nationally and internationally.

The bill was referred to committee on Tuesday and is awaiting its first hearing.

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