You may not be familiar with the term “drip pricing,” but you’re probably all too familiar with the concept. It’s when a company advertises only one part of a product’s price and doesn’t reveal other associated charges until later in the the buying process.
One example is a hotel that advertises an affordable room rate only to slap you with a per-night “Resort fee” when you check in. Or maybe the cable company that touts a monthly rate but doesn’t tell you that you also need to pay a separate monthly charge for your receivers and remotes.
The airline and banking industries have each turned drip pricing into an art form by not mentioning all the fees you’ll be stuck with until it’s basically too late to not get stuck with them. Recent Department of Transportation rules have forced airlines to advertise fares with all applicable fees and taxes, but the airlines still manage to advertise seemingly low airfares by making just about everything an “option.”
Next week the Federal Trade Commission is hosting a free, all-day workshop on the topic of drip pricing. It’s open to the public and if you’re in the DC area, we recommend checking it out.
Additionally, the FTC wants to hear directly from consumers who have something to say about drip pricing. So for the next two weeks, the Commission’s Consumer Response Center toll-free hotline (877-382-4357) will be open for people to talk about their experiences with drip pricing. The TTY number for hearing-impaired consumers is 1-866-653-4261.
If phone calls aren’t your thing, you can also send your drip pricing stories through the FTC complaint form www.ftc.gov/complaint. NOTE: Be sure to include a reference to “drip pricing” in the details so the FTC can easily search and locate your story.