In this tough economy, businesses of all types continue to nickel and dime us to death with add-on charges. Needless to say, they want you to believe that those fees are necessary to cover the additional costs of doing business — pizza delivery fees are a prime example.
In reality, the only thing these fees do is mislead the consumer by adding a hidden mark-up to the advertised price. Sometimes the fees are small; but sometimes they can be quite severe.
Unfortunately for all of us, it’s a practice that has spread like the plague over time.
Here are a few of the most annoying consumer fees that really gnaw at me:
Unlisted Phone Number Fees
This is arguably the granddaddy fee of them all. I currently get charged $1.75 per month for my unlisted telephone number. That’s $21 per year for those of you keeping score at home. Tell me again why it costs the phone company more money to keep a phone number out of the phone book than in? By the way, does anybody under 80 years-old even use phone books anymore?
The same phone company that shakes me down every month for $1.75 just to keep my phone number out of the public eye, also has the audacity to add an additional $0.99 every month for something called “administrative fees.” According to BusinessDictionary.com, administrative fees cover costs required for “controlling and directing anorganization.” In other words: normal business expenses. What a crock.
I bought four tickets from Ticketmaster so I could take my family to see the Harlem Globetrotters. I paid $300 for the set. Too bad that was before they tacked on a “convenience charge” of $5. Per ticket. Uh huh. That stupid fee added $20 to my bill. And now you know why I hate Ticketmaster. Frankly, I’d like to know why Ticketmaster isn’t charging that fee to the acts whose tickets are being sold, rather than us consumers who took time out of our busy schedules to buy the tickets in the first place. Think about it. If the Globetrotters had to sell their tickets on their own time, they’d never get to practice. Eventually, their skills would suffer and then the Washington Generals might actually start beating them.
Fees for Printing Tickets
I’m not done with Ticketmaster. After gagging on their $20 “convenience” charge for my Globetrotter tickets, Ticketmaster wanted to charge me $2.50 so that I could print the tickets from my home printer. Of course, I also had the option to have the tickets delivered to my home via the postal service — for no charge. Where’s the logic in that? How much do you think it costs Ticketmaster to print the tickets on heavier stock paper using high-maintenance ticket machines, then stuff them in envelopes — with proper postage — before mailing them to my house?
Hotel Safe Fees
There are more than a few hotels out there that like to charge you a dollar or two per day just for the privilege of using their in-room safes — whether you use it or not. That’s ridiculous! Which is why I always ask to have it waived if I see it on my bill.
Tax Refund Fees
After spending four hours doing my taxes using TurboTax, I was asked how I intended to pay for their service. Fair enough. Lucky for me I had a refund coming to me. “Perfect!” I thought. “I’ll tell TurboTax to deduct what I owe them directly from my refund.” Too bad TurboTax charges an additional $34.99 if you choose to go that route. There is another option: pay by credit card. Ironically, going that route is free. Yes, I paid with plastic. So much for cash discounts.
Mortgage Junk Fees
There are dozens of mortgage junk fees out there — some more dubious than others — that make you scratch your head and ask what the heck is that for? Reconveyance verification fees, commitment fees, and the infamous “warehouse fee” are just three of the most egregious examples.
And then there’s this…
It’s bad enough that most airlines still impose fees on people who have the audacity to travel with luggage. But several years ago, at least one airline was making their “valued” customers who chose to pay those niggling baggage charges at the airport ticket counter — rather than online — an additional $3 per bag.
That’s right, folks … a fee for paying a fee.
Photo Credit: compujeramey