Beware of Hidden Fees: How to Identify and Avoid Them

by David Bakke

I guess it is a combination of changes in the banking industry and the current state of the economy, but there are hidden fees popping up all over the place. It is really getting to be ridiculous!

Here is a quick glimpse of some that I have come across lately.

They Are Everywhere!

My registration renewal came in the mail recently for my car from the state. They just “included in” a $35 fee for a brand new license plate. This $35 was more than the entire cost of the rest of the registration.  The first two people I called said there was nothing I could do about it. After a third phone call, I was finally able to avoid the charge.

I have been researching quite a few banking websites lately and since the recent government intervention/legislation into the credit card/banking industry, they’ve had to get quite creative with how they are now trying to screw the consumer.  I found a $20 “research fee”. Basically, if they have to do any research regarding your account, they can charge you up to $20 per hour. I also found a “copy fee”.  Would you like a paper copy of your banking statement? That will be $10 please.  Boy, I’d love to see the copier and paper they use to produce those babies.  They must be something else!

The router recently “went” on my internet connection set up at my house. I called my internet service provider to request a new one. Got all the way through the process when he tried to verbally sneak in a $19.99 replacement fee he was trying to charge me. Are you kidding me?  This is their equipment that they provided me for free when I signed up—all of a sudden a replacement costs money?

Regardless, it’s safe to say that fees and hidden charges are really almost a part of our daily lives. I’d like to outline for you a few quick tips on what you can do to avoid them.

Wake Up/Pay Attention

Boy have you got to be on your toes these days. This especially comes into play whenever you sign up for something new or whenever you get a renewal notice in the mail. You have got to read through the fine print whenever applicable. Another neat trick that I’ve employed is a lot of times I’ll find an internet offer for a credit card or something similar that I end up signing up for over the telephone. Well, you know how most of the time those conversations are recorded? Well, I use that to my advantage. I confirm that it’s being recorded and then I make the rep I’m speaking with go over any and all “hidden” fees or any and all other fees not previously discussed.  This will cover me if I ever find out about one in the future and want to dispute it.

Act!

When you find a fee that you’ve been charged, don’t take it lying down. Let me give you an example. If some huge company out there charges a $2 fee for whatever to all of their customers, and they have a million customers, then they can generate an additional $2 million in revenues.  So, its huge money for them. However,i f you call up and complain about this $2 charge, do you think you’ll have to go too far before they just waive it? Will they risk an upset customer for $2?  I highly doubt it.

The bottom line is that you’ve got to realize that these hidden fees are popping up all over the place, in places you’d never expect to see them.  Keep your eyes wide open, do your best to avoid them on the front end, but if one slips past you, do something about it to get it reversed. Don’t take the situation lying down.

As always, your comments are greatly appreciated below.

{ 2 comments }

1 edith August 25, 2010 at 12:52 am

i will agree with you on the bank statement . I had requested to block my atm card a couple days ago because i lost it, i asked if there were any transactions made after i had lost it and the rep said the last transaction was $80 that i remembered taking out of a local 7/11 plus the withdrawl; fee of like $2.50 i think or a little more, to my surprise keep in mined that ive been a costomer of B of A since i was like 15 years old well B of A charges additional 2 dollars for every with drawl made if its not there own atm machine of course if there is no near B of A machine within certain miles they’ll waive (so they say) do you know how much they make just doing that. im thinking i lost 82.50 when in reality i lost almost $85 what might not seem a lot $4-5 buks but like you said 2million customers equals 4million dollars extra for them. Im 20 years old i was pissed when i found out. i mean i constantly try to figure out why i kept going over my amount that i had to my knowledge its because of those damn hidden fees all the time its starting to make sence i mean like its only like $10 here $5 there when reality its $4 extra taking out of your account which is $14 here $10 there yeah ive been screwd over i asked the rep if like if it was some new rule based on the economy and home loans and he said no its been the same for quit some years so yup they get you all right …

2 david August 25, 2010 at 6:06 am

Edith

Yes, they sure do get you. I think you and I could exchange B of A horror stories because I have quite a few myself.

Thanks for stopping by–I love your straightforward comments!

We should talk…there are ways to fight back you know….

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: