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12 Ways To Outsmart Those Pesky, Annoying Hidden Fees

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Unhidden Overview

--According to a recent Consumer’s Reports survey of 2,000 American adults, 85% reported being surprised by an unexpected hidden fee.

--30% of those reporting hidden fees complained to the company. Almost 2/3 of them were successful in eliminating the fees. 

--The most commonly reported hidden charges were from cable TV bills, followed by cell phone and internet fees.

--The largest US banks raked in a total of $11.5 billion in overdraft charges in 2018.

--The US hotel industry took in $2.9 billion in hidden fees and surcharges in 2018.

--Fees are considered “hidden” when the consumer is obligated to click through numerous web pages or read the entire lengthy fine print to find out the total cost.

--Many consumers make the mistake of being so thrilled to have gotten a great deal, they don’t bother assessing the hidden fees, assuming the competitors are charging the same.

10 Tips From Consumer’s Reports

Airline baggage fees:
Southwest is one of the rare airlines that allow 2 free bags. Pack light. Sign up with an airline’s own credit card, most of which will waive baggage fees.

Airline preferred seating fee:
Book really early to get the seat you want. Flying on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and other less busy times also drastically improves your chances.

Banks charge a monthly fee when the balance falls below a specific amount:
Consider banking with Ally Bank, Discover Bank, or USAA Bank, who do not charge the fee. Some larger banks may waive this fee if you sign up with direct deposit of your paycheck to the bank.  

Cable TV surprise fees:
Consider waving goodbye. Streaming services via the net have considerably fewer fees. You can either rent or buy the modem and router.

Multiple extra fees at the auto dealership:
“I’ll only pay the taxes and any government fee. Anything more and I’m walking out.”

The auto dealership charges a fee with names like pre-delivery inspection, dealer prep, vehicle prep or vehicle procurement:
Reject this fee. It’s already covered in the mandatory destination charge.

Hidden fees charged by the auto dealer’s financial loan to the buyer:
Look for a bank which may offer you the same lending terms with no or fewer fees. 

The auto dealership charges a fee for etching the VIN (vehicle identification number) on the car’s windows and windshield:                                 
 Any mechanic will do it for much less. Or buy a do-it-yourself kit. It only costs around $20.

Third party web sites that compare hotel prices never include extra or hidden fees:
Phone the hotel or go directly to the hotel’s web site and check the list of fees. Phone the hotel and ask for waivers for services you have no interest in. This actually sometimes works. You can also check the fees at ResortFeeChecker.com. Common hidden fees are Parking, Safe (to store valuables), booking and WiFi. 

Some financial advisors charge a fee of 1% of your entire investment annually, on top of the up-front fees:
Find a certified financial planner that charges by the hour or a flat fee. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (napfa.org) provides names of local certified planners.


Penelope Wang, “Protect Yourself From Hidden Fees” Consumer’s Reports, May 29, 2019   https://www.consumerreports.org/fees-billing/protect-yourself-from-hidden-fees/

Hidden fees at assisted living facilities:
Ask about common hidden fees such as admission, recreational and social fees. Ask if you are paying for something that your loved one will never use.

Annoying ATM fees:
“Switch to a credit union. Because they are co-ops owned by depositors, credit unions usually charge fewer fees and they cost less — even for using ATMs. Why? They rely on the 28,000-ATM Co-Op Network nationwide, which includes 5,500 7-Eleven stores. It’s a surcharge-free system that’s bigger than ones offered by Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co.”

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Phantom Debt: How To Avoid Debt Collection Scams  http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2017/12/phantom-debt-how-to-avoid-debt.html  

Deceptive Advertising: Exposing 8 Cons & Lies  http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2017/09/deceptive-advertising-exposing-8.html  

10 Smart Supermarket Tips to Save You Time & Money  http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2014/04/10-smart-supermarket-tips_9.html

8 Little Known Funeral Rip-offs and Consumer Counteractions  http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2013/04/8-little-known-funeral-rip-offs-and.html

Photo: https://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/mag-ideaexchange/2019/02/18/517651.htm

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.


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