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“Drip Pricing” In The Crosshairs

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August 4, 2021

A practice that has rankled consumers for years has been flagged by law school professor and public interest attorney Max Sarinsky. Along with some colleagues at the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law, he has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to ban “drip pricing.” His New York Times oped about the practice begins with a recent example: the advertised price of a Yankees v. the Seattle Mariners game at Yankee Stadium. It’s $15.00, but buyers who follow out the online purchase process, after first selecting their seats, get to a payment screen that informs them of an additional $4.20-per-ticket “service fee,” plus a $3.30 “order processing fee.” That’s an increase, Sarinsky notes, of 50 percent.

There have been lawsuits filed against some instances of drip-pricing in local jurisdictions, and the Department of Transportation has banned it in the airline industry, but a generalized attempt to regulate the practice has never been made. “Under our proposal,” Sarinsky writes, “all sellers would be required to disclose the full price of a product or service upfront, with any mandatory surcharges included as part of that total price”

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