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Fee Creep
Old 08-22-2013, 12:15 PM   #1
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Fee Creep

"Fee Creep" sounds better than "feeling the squeeze".

A place to "vent" about the businesses that are slowly adding more and more charges to our daily lives... for whatever reason.

To kick it off... a few of the latest.

Comcast... Tons of new service fees, including a charge of $60/hr. for home tech service, even if it is their fault.

MagicJack... $12 to $60 added annual fees for 911 service which was free before.
Vonage... The "low use" plan is $9.99/mo., but with taxes and fees is now $16.45.

AlJazeera Live Streaming TV, which was available on Roku, SonyTV, and UTUBE, is now on Cable and Directv... as live channels... but in the premium packages. (I called Directv and they offered the $10 upgrade for a year for $5. Since I'm addicted to Al Jazeera, I took it.) As far as I can tell, the is no more "free" American Al Jazeera.

We've changed banks to avoid some of the "stupid fees", but can see more coming.

NYT online is a subscribe after free 10 articles. The local newspapers all have extra charges for online news, even though we're paying customers.

Free Credit Report... ain't exactly free as you have to give your credit card, which will be billed if you don't cancel in 7 days.

Dormant Debit Card fees coming to the bank near me. Will probably go to "Bluebird".

We don't do air travel, but would be interested to hear about the charges... Can't imagine having to pay for a place to put your feet!

Anyway... these creeping fees for starters...
Anything to add?
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:30 PM   #2
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I was using a company called First Communications as my long distance provider on my land line as they were much cheaper than ATT. Generally my bill was less than a $1.00 a month. Last week I got a bill for $6. It broke down as four cents for a call and $5.96 in taxes! I called ATT to cancel First Communications and now have no long distance provider, as I use Google Voice 99.9% of the time. (Earlier ATT had insisted that I have someone as a long distance provider, so I just took the cheapest option).
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:00 PM   #3
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Two fees I can think of which have irked me a lot.

The first is Verizon adding a $1.50 monthly fee for its basic long-distance phone service even if you don't make any LD phone calls. For many years before they added this fee, if you paid for only the LD calls you made, even if you paid a little more per call. This was a good LD phone service for people like me who made few or no LD phone calls in a given month. But then Verizon got greedy and tacked on this fee so I would have to pay $1.50 per month for the mere privilege of being able to make LD phone calls. Verizon claimed they needed this money so that they could enable me to receive LD phone calls. Insane!

So I dropped my LD phone service. This was 6 years ago and I have not made any LD phone calls. I have no cell phone so I can't actually make any LD phone calls other than toll-free ones.

Optimum is our local cable TV service provider. They recently tacked on a $2.95 monthly charge for all Family cable TV subscribers to cover the added cost of providing the YES network. The YES network is the sport network which airs the Yankees baseball games and some other sports programs. A few years ago, the Yankees bullied Optimum into forcing them to put YES on Family cable as a basic channel, not a premium channel like HBO, for example. By doing this, they could not only get more money from their advertisers by claiming a bigger potential viewing audience compared to a more limited, premium channel but could charge Optimum more to receive the station. But for those of us who don't watch the Yankees (I don't, and I never watch YES), we are paying $2.95 per month for a single station I have no use for and can't get rid of the charge without downgrading to a Basic cable package which lacks 50 other channels, many of which I do watch. Rotten deal.

I have had to eliminate some services from my bank (BofA) to avoid fees. BofA switched from including canceled checks with monthly account statements to including check images. Then, a few years ago, they dropped the check images unless I paid them $3 a month. I did switch to online banking at the time so I can view and print them out but the net effect is to shift to me the cost of paper and use of my printer to view my canceled checks. Years ago, when BofA was Fleet, I was able to keep a linked savings account which generated interest. But Fleet later raised the minimum balance to keep that deal, so I merged the accounts into a checking account which gets no interest, a backhanded monthly fee.
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:13 PM   #4
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Some fees don't bother me as much. I never get wound up about my expenses from Fidelity. When I call I get excellent customer service.

Compare that with say my recent experiences with ATT(we can't tell you how much your final bill might be, just send us $400.00 and we'll refund any extra you paid). Guess what no.

Or Humana, we can't pay till your wifes primary Insurance does. She has Humana for her only insurance. According to Humana she has two Humana policies, never did. Humana records are jacked. Has taken months and still not convinced its fixed.

Those irratate me the most bad fees, combined with horrible customer service.
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
"Fee Creep" sounds better than "feeling the squeeze".

A place to "vent" about the businesses that are slowly adding more and more charges to our daily lives... for whatever reason.

To kick it off... a few of the latest.

Comcast... Tons of new service fees, including a charge of $60/hr. for home tech service, even if it is their fault.

MagicJack... $12 to $60 added annual fees for 911 service which was free before.
Vonage... The "low use" plan is $9.99/mo., but with taxes and fees is now $16.45.

AlJazeera Live Streaming TV, which was available on Roku, SonyTV, and UTUBE, is now on Cable and Directv... as live channels... but in the premium packages. (I called Directv and they offered the $10 upgrade for a year for $5. Since I'm addicted to Al Jazeera, I took it.) As far as I can tell, the is no more "free" American Al Jazeera.

We've changed banks to avoid some of the "stupid fees", but can see more coming.

NYT online is a subscribe after free 10 articles. The local newspapers all have extra charges for online news, even though we're paying customers.

<sniop>
Like my old grand pappy used to say "They can keep their xxxxx, and I will keep my money."

Call and cancel whenever possible.
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:28 PM   #6
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It's not new, but one that really bug me as far as 'fees':

Tickets for a performance - they often include a 'convenience fee' and/or shipping&handling. I think they even charge you to print your own ticket. I wish they would just say $30 at the box office, $42 if purchased on-line. Oh, and some of those fees apply per-ticket, not per-order. Like it really costs more to mail 2 tickets rather than one.


I really don't understand why some of these places don't DIY rather than go through Ticketmaster or whoever. Lots of small places do internet sales, it can't be that hard to get someone to set it up for them, and cut those middle-man fees.

Oh, doc fees when you buy a car. Really? $25,000 for a car, and they have to charge me $168 for a couple forms that take 5 minutes to fill out, mostly boilerplate info that I give them? Lump it in the cost of doing business, like paying the electric bill. How come my contractor didn't charge me a fee to write up the contract?

-ERD50
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:56 PM   #7
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The more we bargain-hunt, the more they'll assess fees. Balance is maintained.
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:05 PM   #8
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Free Credit Report... ain't exactly free as you have to give your credit card, which will be billed if you don't cancel in 7 days.
What about annualcreditreport.com? I've never given them a credit card for my free reports.
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:08 PM   #9
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What about annualcreditreport.com? I've never given them a credit card for my free reports.
Yes, this is the "official" one that lets you access each of the bureaus once per year (but they may not show you the FICO). All the other ones are trying to sell you credit monitoring services of one sort or another, with varying degrees of legitimacy.

Another legitimate alternative is CreditKarma.com.
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:12 PM   #10
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The more we bargain-hunt, the more they'll assess fees. Balance is maintained.
Yes, the process of trying to be a smart consumer certainly does feel like a silent war at times. I have spent quite a bit of time encouraging my less financially savvy friends to valiantly go to battle in order to get what they want at the price they want. There must be an awful lot of passive consumers out there who don't do that, hence the reason companies deploy these tricks in order to increase their margin.

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What about annualcreditreport.com? I've never given them a credit card for my free reports.
Me neither. annualcreditreport.com have worked well for me too.
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:24 PM   #11
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Not exactly fee creep, but having recently moved into a rental apt. my monthly natural gas consumption fee is around 75 cents (stove only). Admin fees & distribution charges bring the monthly bill to around $13.
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:42 PM   #12
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There must be an awful lot of passive consumers out there who don't do that, hence the reason companies deploy these tricks in order to increase their margin.
If what was offered wasn't a good value to start with, then the price would come down regardless. If consumers force the price down, through bargain-hunting, and the fees don't fly, then there's always cost-reducing the cost of service, i.e., lowering quality. It's like wrestling a greased pig. There's no free lunch.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:11 PM   #13
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If what was offered wasn't a good value to start with, then the price would come down regardless. If consumers force the price down, through bargain-hunting, and the fees don't fly, then there's always cost-reducing the cost of service, i.e., lowering quality. It's like wrestling a greased pig. There's no free lunch.
I like your greased pig analogy and certainly don't dispute what your saying. I also believe companies realize that a vast amount of people are stupid and/or lazy and only look at the "main price" and are oblivious to the minor add ons or run around fees. Two examples: Resort Fees in Vegas are the rage now. Hotel may drop price of say a $99 dollar room, and make it $89, but have a $20 a day resort fee added on at check out. If it was $109 total they might not bite, but when it says $89 and fine print of $20 it doesn't sound so bad. #2 - Rebates on purchased product. Store advertises the sale price of product including rebate, but you still pay full purchased price, and then have to go through the hoops to get your rebate. Companies know a certain percentage will buy the product because of the "rebate sale price", but in turn are too lazy to go trough process of getting the money. After getting burned on a few minor rebates I attempted to get, I will never buy a product that offers a rebate other than an "instant rebate".
As far as all the airline fees goes, I really don't have a problem with them as they do a pretty good job of posting them. Besides it doesn't take a real math genius to do the math to decide if an airfare ticket from southwest with no bag fees is a better value than a delta flight with a bag fee that will be added on.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:22 PM   #14
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....Oh, doc fees when you buy a car. Really? $25,000 for a car, and they have to charge me $168 for a couple forms that take 5 minutes to fill out, mostly boilerplate info that I give them? Lump it in the cost of doing business, like paying the electric bill. How come my contractor didn't charge me a fee to write up the contract?

-ERD50
When I bought my last car we were going over the details and I told them that I refused to pay the outrageous fee for their office staff to fill out some paperwork, much of which is computerized and some of which I could care less about and doesn't take them very much time. At first, they tried the crap that it is required and preprinted on the form and they couldn't do anything about it. I suggested that they could just reduce the price I was paying for the car or increase my trade by the amount of the fee and it would all even out and started to get up and put on my jacket as if I was leaving. They increased the trade by the amount of the fee.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:47 PM   #15
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On the air fares - they're actually cheaper than they used to be. You can choose to check your bag or upgrade to a "nicer" seat, or pay rock bottom if you prefer. Personally I thought the meals were horrid, so I'm happy to carry on my own.

The fees for financial transactions have gone waaaaaay down over the past 14 years.

I don't pay any banking fees.

I get money back/rebates on my credit cards now, and no annual fees. It used to be the other way around.

Shopping is cheaper and more convenient than ever with all the online merchants and great shipping deals.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:49 PM   #16
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DirecTV is notorious for raising fees every year. It's a dollar or two on various packages or equipment but it adds up. We have Time Warner for our Internet. The service fee is going up next month by a dollar or dollar fifty. Also, the recently imposed modem lease fee (used to be free with the service) is increasing to $6 so we will buy our own modem.

We have checking and savings accounts at a couple of banks, but none of them have any fees, or at least any fees on the banking revives that we use.

Our natural gas company always had a fee just to be a connected customer. It's up to about $22/month no matter how much or how little gas you use.

Those Live Nation and Ticketmaster fees are awful! I call them the scrotum fees because they've got you by the balls. It used to be that if you went directly to the venue box office the fees did not apply but that changed a few years ago. At the venue where I usher they sell parking passes for $20. All that gets you is a paved spot instead of parking on grass. If I go to a concert there I park in the employee lot.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:55 PM   #17
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Whenever I deal for a car, I always make my offer "bottom line" or "bottom line + sales tax" How they fill out their paperwork is their problem. They usually give me a quizzical look, so I explain that that is the amount of the check they will receive, not a dime more. Once walked out when presented the paperwork as it was not what I agreed to. There was a phone message when I got home agreeing to my price.
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:13 PM   #18
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I like to experience "perk creep". Free upgrades to first class on flights to Hawaii. Free coupons for meals and drinks in restaurants. Free 0%-interest rate deals on credit card cash advances. Free 3% cash-back on credit cards. Free 10 cents off per gallon of gas. Free trades at all brokers.
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:42 PM   #19
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I just got the notice from MJ, it's not them, it's various state/counties imposing the 911 fee and it will vary all over from $1 - $60 depending where your service is at. But you have to go sign up now for 911 service, it is off by default so no charge. It is strange any old cell can be used for 911, even if not activated with an account. I think that is law. Not sure why MJ is being forced when cell phones aren't subject.

Here's a trick if you have an old iphone. You can use something like talkatone and google voice to make free calls over wifi instead an expensive carrier plan. Used iphones can found on ebay an such.

Talkatone: Free Google Voice VoIP calls on iOS and Android
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:46 PM   #20
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DirecTV is notorious for raising fees every year. It's a dollar or two on various packages or equipment but it adds up. We have Time Warner for our Internet. The service fee is going up next month by a dollar or dollar fifty. Also, the recently imposed modem lease fee (used to be free with the service) is increasing to $6 so we will buy our own modem.

We have checking and savings accounts at a couple of banks, but none of them have any fees, or at least any fees on the banking revives that we use.

Our natural gas company always had a fee just to be a connected customer. It's up to about $22/month no matter how much or how little gas you use.

Those Live Nation and Ticketmaster fees are awful! I call them the scrotum fees because they've got you by the balls. It used to be that if you went directly to the venue box office the fees did not apply but that changed a few years ago. At the venue where I usher they sell parking passes for $20. All that gets you is a paved spot instead of parking on grass. If I go to a concert there I park in the employee lot.
The part I absolutely do not get is, where I can pay $1.50 to print my concert ticket immediately by using my paper and ink, or they will mail you the tickets through USPS for free. Huh? I always book my concerts so far in advance they can pay the postage if that's how they want to play the game.
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