Interior designers in major US cities are being told to pay fees for interior design services to help pay for their work, after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it would ban some home interior design firms from charging interior designers for their services.
In a statement on Tuesday, the FAA said the new rule would make it easier for companies to charge interior designers fees and will “protect the air travel experience for passengers.”
The FAA is concerned that the fees are making it easier to charge home interior designers to make design decisions that are not necessarily based on what they can actually do, the agency said.
It said the fees would prevent interior designers from doing the work they do to enhance the appearance of a home and could also be used to raise fees to cover travel expenses.
“We have concerns that the increased fees will make it harder for home interior designs to compete with commercial firms that offer services for home and interior design,” the FAA wrote.
The FAA said that while it understands that some interior design companies charge interior design fees, these fees should be “only for the purpose of assisting the design of the home or interior design for a commercial purpose, and not for the sole purpose of making design decisions for a fee.”
It said it has “prohibited” many home interior designer services, including those in San Francisco and New York City, from charging fees for the work.
The agency said it will also consider a proposal by the National Association of Home Interior Designers (NAAID), which represents the home interior industry, to provide a fee waiver for interior designers working in the San Francisco Bay Area.NAAIDs chair David Graziano said he was disappointed with the new regulation, which he said would limit the amount of time interior designers are able to spend with clients, and that it would also prevent them from working with other industries in which fees are charged.
Graziano, who is based in the Bay Area, said he believes there is a lot of “dramatic confusion” about what constitutes a home interior, and the fee waivers could be used as a way to make that confusion even more apparent.
He said the fee waiver proposals have been rejected by the Federal Trade Commission, which has jurisdiction over consumer protection.
Greenspan said the proposed rule was intended to protect consumers.
“I don’t think that the [federal agency] will be able to find a way around it,” he said.
Gavin M. Miller, director of the Center for Responsible Home Design at the University of California, San Francisco, said that the FAA has failed to explain why it made this change and that the agency has an opportunity to explain its reasoning.
Miller, who previously worked for the California Department of Consumer Affairs and is the director of research and policy at the nonprofit Consumerist, said the agency is attempting to create an environment that discourages home interior decorators from working in industries that are unregulated.
He also said that, in the end, there will likely be a lack of demand for interior designs, and some of these jobs will be lost.
“These [fee waivers] will only be used for the sake of helping the airlines, which in turn will be helping to make the industry more expensive,” Miller said.
“I think the agency would rather make it clear that these [fee] waivers will be used only for the purposes of protecting consumers, rather than making this industry more efficient and cost-effective.”
The rules will be effective July 1, 2018, but can be waived up to 60 days before the expiration date.