The Government Wants to Crack Down on Restaurant 'Junk Fees

Hidden taxes and surcharges are both abhorred and becoming more popular in restaurants. The National Restaurant Association reported

that 13% of fast-food restaurants and 15% of restaurants charged service fees in 2023. Also known as "junk fees,"

Since many restaurant surcharges are unclear, consumers have started vocally opposing them on social media. Restaurants may soon have to disclose such extra charges

The FTC suggested a new rule last fall to reduce "junk fees" that customers face. Nation's Restaurant News claimed that the new law

includes restaurant fees, unlike prior media stories that focused on ticket sellers, airlines, car rental firms, and other industries.

The FTC said in the proposal that "restaurants routinely add fees to bills that were not previously disclosed, using various names (e.g., 'service

fee,' 'hospitality fee,' 'kitchen fee,' 'equity fee,' 'economic impact fee,' 'temporary inflation fee') that do not clearly or conspicuously identify

their nature or purpose." The suggestion also criticized meal delivery apps for charging "that are not reflected in advertised food prices."

These garbage fees make it tougher for consumers to find the best product or service and punish honest firms by obscuring the total price.

In October 2023, FTC Chair Lina M. Khan said the planned junk fee ban will save individuals money and time and make markets more fair and competitive.

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