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California's new 'Honest Pricing Law' will require cruise lines to be transparent about fees

Lauren Edmonds   

California's new 'Honest Pricing Law' will require cruise lines to be transparent about fees
  • California's "Honest Pricing Law" will go into effect on July 1, 2024.
  • The law makes it illegal for businesses to advertise a price that doesn't include all the fees.

A new California law will force cruise lines to be more transparent about their prices, bolstering a Biden administration crusade against junk fees.

Senate Bill 478, also known as the "Honest Pricing Law," will go into effect on July 1. The law makes it illegal for businesses to advertise prices for goods or services that don't include all the required fees or charges.

A press release from California's attorney general said the price transparency law "protects consumers from deceptive price advertising and allows them to make an informed decision by seeing the all-in price of goods or services up-front before they get the bill."

The new law will impact the travel industry, including cruise lines that operate in California. Companies like Royal Caribbean International and Norweigan Cruise Line will need to make the price of taxes, port fees, and other charges clear to customers up front, according to The Washington Post.

A Carnival Corp. representative told the outlet it would follow guidelines set out by the "Honest Pricing Law." Carnival Corp. is the parent company of brands like Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Holland America.

"While this is a California state law, we are making this change nationwide to ensure our advertised pricing is consistent no matter where guests shop for our cruise," the statement said.

The representative said that from now on, the full advertised cost would include extra charges previously "itemized separately for consumer awareness."

Norweigan Cruise Lines is still determining their next steps, according to the outlet.

A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean confirmed the policy change to Business Insider.

"Guests booking with Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises will now see pricing that is inclusive of their selected cruise fare and all required taxes and fees," the statement read. "We are also supporting our travel partners across the country ahead of this upcoming change."

Representatives for Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

The California attorney general's press release said the "Honest Pricing Law" comes as the Biden administration continues to address hidden fees, also known as "junk fees." The Biden administration first announced its fight against hidden fees in October 2022.

In October 2023, the Biden administration announced it would require banks and credit unions to provide customers with basic information without charging fees.

The Federal Trade Commission also proposed a rule in October 2023 that would ban hidden fees and require all businesses to show the full price of a good or service up front.


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