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

June 24th, 2024

Categories: Banking, Church, Events, Fees, Junk Fees, Restaurant

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?

7 Responses to “Service of Junk Fees Galore: Did You Want Wheels with That Car?”

  1. Martha Tepper Takayamata Said:

    I have experienced the no bread service and find very pretentious and unappealing. My Greek brother-in-law cannot eat without bread. In general Europeans serve and expect bread with their meals. When informed that there will be a charge added for bread, I don’t really want to return to such an establishment. My brother-in-law considers it absurd.

    Another service charge I am confused or dubious about is Amazon Prime. It may be my own fault, but I didn’t understand that it is a monthly membership.

    The endless and convoluted offerings that supposedly come with it require lengthy reading and analysis I think that it essentially represents expenditures more than savings or a boondoggle.

  2. EAM Said:

    EAM on Facebook: I ate at a restaurant where a tip was already applied (20%) for two people and there was another line for add’l gratuity. I was surprised that this was already added and I’m quite sure that many people who didn’t go over the bill closely just added to the gratuity line. Also, not a junk fee, but my salon now charges for credit cards (it’s posted).

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:

    EAM,

    Wow! A tip for 6 or more has been around for ages but for 2? Yikes! Easy to miss if you’re busy talking.

    Good example of the credit card surcharge at your hair stylist. My dentist reduces the charge by 3 percent if you pay by check or cash.

  4. Linda Levi Said:

    Linda on Facebook: Lots of places (restaurants, hair salon, etc.) these days charging fees for use of credit cards. Or as they spin it, a discount for use of cash. Annoying.

    Somewhat related is my newest peeve. Finally signed up for cable TV for a weekend residence over the phone. Apparently without asking me or informing me, I was enrolled in AutoPay. Only learned via an email after I hung up. Now getting out of it is proving to be difficult. Nothing easy these days.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Linda,

    Usually, you get a discount with autopay. My heart sinks for you as I so dislike having to get to the right department only, so often, to find that nothing happens as a result.

    Funny how cash is coming back in fashion. It’s not great if you don’t carry around a lot of it. I try to leave cash tips at restaurants and at the hair stylist. I wonder if this trend has had an impact on credit card profitability even though banks make a hearty chunk from their interest rates so maybe not.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    Like your brother-in-law my dad couldn’t eat a meal without bread. He’d have had ten fits had he been charged more. The waitstaff should ask if the table would like bread so as not to waste it should it not be touched. During water shortages you’d only be served water if you asked for it. But charging more seems small thinking.

    I don’t subscribe to Amazon in any way, at any level. I’m sure I miss a lot TV programming wise, but so be it. On occasion a friend will order something for me. I’m grateful.

  7. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: Credit card surcharges are more common now as the fees credit card companies are charging small businesses is making it difficult to earn a profit. Their costs are very high.

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