Illinois advances bill to ban hidden fees across consumer goods, services

One day after the Biden administration announced it is putting an end to junk fees in air travel, Illinois lawmakers are one step closer to sweeping legislation that puts an end to hidden fees on just about everything residents buy in the Land of Lincoln.

With inflation showing no signs of letting up, Illinois lawmakers are pushing legislation designed to offset rising prices at the pump, the grocery store, and everywhere else Illinois residents find goods and services.

State Rep. Bob Morgan is the sponsor of the "Junk Fee Ban Act."

"This last weekend I was at a restaurant and ordered a burger and it was $12. I paid it. I knew what I was getting, but then when I got the check there was a 3-percent mandatory surcharge on there and when I asked what it was for, they said it was the service fee and I said service for what?" Morgan said.

The sweeping legislation covers what some describe as "stealth inflation" padding restaurant bills with additional fees, concert tickets, and rideshare totals — anything that includes a surcharge that customers can't see until after they order goods or services.

"Give me the choice as the customer, the consumer to decide whether or not to pay that money," Morgan said.

If the bill is signed into law, the savings for a family of four in Illinois averages $3,000 per year.

"Inflation is a global pressure right? These are services and goods that we know the costs are going up. What we expect though and demand is that there is transparency. Let me make the choice when I'm going to buy an airline ticket, concert ticket, that I know what the actual price is the true price," Morgan said.

The legislation passed in the House and is now on its way to the Senate. If signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker, it would take effect in January 2025.