Archive for the ‘Fees’ Category

Service of Junk Fees Galore: Did You Want Wheels with That Car?

Monday, June 24th, 2024

This post about junk fees and transparent pricing is a cousin of the one I wrote recently, “Service of the More You Pay, the Less You Get—in Sneaky Ways,” and of another one I wrote in February, 2022, “Service of Irritating Add-On Charges.” In the former I wrote about expensive stationery and socks with cheap envelopes without glue and holes after a few months, respectively. In February I mention airline and digital news subscription surcharges as well as exorbitant charges for popcorn and drinks at movie houses.

Marisa Lagos wrote on npr.org: “In July, a new state law in California will require businesses to disclose all costs up front — a ban on so-called ‘junk fees’ on everything from hotel rooms, to concert tickets, to restaurant food.” California has always been ahead of the pack.

Here are my observations.

Isn’t the Interest from My Money Enough?

I have a savings account at a retail bank but no other account there. I was charged $10 for the clerk to cut me a check.

Include it With the Prayers, Please

I am having a mass said for a friend’s mother who is recovering from a terrible accident. I’ve ordered these from Catholic churches all over the place, mostly after someone has died, but for the first time, I had to pay extra for a mass [card to send my friend].

Charge Less for Seconds and Use a Bigger Glass

This example would have been a better fit for the February post. At a pricey Manhattan restaurant, at lunch, I was charged full price for each of four iced teas served in tiny glasses. The same week, also at lunch, at a Hoboken, N.J. restaurant, we were offered free second glasses of soda. The first glass was a nice size. Good for them!

Pass the Bread

Some restaurants no longer serve bread unless you ask for it and often, there’s a charge for what came with the meal in the past.

Two Tickets, Please, Drop or Reduce the Fee

When I take up an organization’s invitation to attend an event, and I sign up online, I resent being charged a juicy surprise fee when I’ve done all the work—chosen the seat, printed the e-ticket.

Fees and Taxes Sneak Up on You

Somehow a $1.49 bottle of water bought at a drugstore on a boiling hot day cost well over $2.00 due to the bottle fee and tax.

Have you been hit with charges that, like wheels on a car, should come with what you’ve bought?

Service of Cancellation Fees

Monday, March 18th, 2024

The New York Times ran a recent article by T.M. Brown, “When Canceling Your Reservation Costs as Much as Dinner.”

I’d addressed one restaurant reservation reminder run amok in “Service of Follow Ups and Reminders.” I’d received daily notices a few days prior—as though I was scheduled for brain surgery–and then “You have half an hour to arrive at XYZ.” I was so turned off. I didn’t appreciate the pressure and arrived in a grumpy mood.

I guess these irritating reminders aren’t enough. The subhead of Brown’s article was: “Fed up with no-shows and last-minute cancellations, restaurants are increasingly charging fees as high as $100 a head. And some diners are pushing back.”

According to the reporter, one man cancelled his reservation 23½ hours before his wife’s birthday dinner because their son was in the emergency room. He protested the $200 fee they charged his credit card.

Brown wrote that according to one reservation service, cancellations jumped from at least one in 4 percent of participating restaurants in January 2019 to 13 percent in 2023 and this year, 17 percent. Another reported “that 28 percent of Americans surveyed admitted to not showing up for a reservation in the last year.”

Fees range from $10 to $50+ per person wrote Brown. Some managers charge “on a case-by-case basis.”

Does it make you want to avoid restaurants like this? Have you forgotten to cancel a restaurant reservation, or, for that matter, a doctor or hairstylist appointment? Were you charged a fee?

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