Via U.S. PIRG, we came across this AP article on the enormous fees that businesses are charging consumers. After noting how much Americans pay in unnecessary fees (e.g., $14.6 billion in credit card fees last year), the author lists twenty easily trimmed fees. Our favorites, inside.
Hillary discovered that her money-saving free digital service self installation kit from Comcast wasn’t so free after all when she got her monthly bill. She says they removed the charge when she called to ask about it, which further reinforces our suspicion that this is a sneaky plan to pass the cost of the free kit back to subscribers. If you request a free self install kit from Comcast, watch your bill for extra charges.
Claire was told the wrong thing by an AT&T Wireless rep regarding international long distance, but when she called back to sort things out, she came up against the Nurse Ratched of the AT&T call center—a woman who refused to give in, or offer any help at all. In fact, when Claire finally admitted defeat and said she’d accept the credit that had been offered to her, the supervisor refused. Apparently Claire only had one chance to accept that and since she said no, it was off the table.
Bank of America doesn’t think cashing checks drawn on its own accounts is a service that should be free to no-name people who come in off the streets—they want $6 for that privilege, one reader recently discovered.
Jeff canceled one of the two lines on his AT&T Mobility family plan, and on his next bill he noticed the remaining line had been charged for mobile-to-mobile calls on the AT&T network—even though those minutes are supposed to be free.
David, who we noted earlier this week was out an extra $140 because eHarmony decided to open a second account in his name, has written back with an update.
We all know that just because a rep on the phone promises you something, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true. But in Alan’s case, two different United reps both confirmed, repeatedly—he asked several times before completing the purchase and again before canceling—that he could cancel his tickets within 24 hours of purchase without paying a fee. A week after he canceled, he was hit with a $150 non-refundable fee that one United rep admitted was a new policy that wasn’t in writing—but United still refused to reverse it.
Mike used an Office Depot Visa card issued through Chase to take advantage of a pay-no-interest deal through 2008. He paid off the remaining balance a couple of days before the offer period ended, but Chase still slapped him with a nearly $40 interest charge. Why? Because they’ve been “having problems like that” with Office Depot cards.
Update: eHarmony has returned the money.
Cox told reader Don that they would waive a $55 service fee they hadn’t previously disclosed, but then changed their mind without telling him. Now Cox is telling Don that if he pays the $55, they’ll return it to him as a credit next month. Yeah, sure they will. Should Don trust them?
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Verizon Wireless accusing it of passing directly to customers a “metropolitan commuter transportation district” tax that the company was actually supposed to pay. Albert Levy, who filed the lawsuit, points out that Sprint has never charged the tax to customers. Verizon Wireless calls the accusation “silly,” and says they’re billing it correctly. Perhaps not surprisingly, the actual wording of the tax law leaves the matter up in the air.
The Boston Globe says that credit card users are noticing a mysterious charge for about 25 cents from Adele Services in Melville, NY. The trouble is, “There is no business by that name listed in Melville, or registered to any business anywhere in New York, for that matter.” No one knows yet whether these small charges are tests for larger unauthorized debits, or if this is the entire scam. Either way, check your statement and be sure to file a dispute—and request a new card—if you come across it.
We don’t know what the hell happened with this customer service situation, but somehow the CSR for Vonage decided that when Sarah abruptly hung up on him, she agreed by default to a service cancellation and $92 cancellation fee. That sounds like the kind of angry-CSR “mistake” that can be fixed with a second call—but according to the next CSR Sarah spoke to, that’s just Vonage policy. What?
If you used your debit card at Macy’s on the Saturday before Christmas, you might have been charged twice.
Over on Elliott.org, a woman describes how her $29 Days Inn room ballooned to a $180 charge when the hotel’s owner refused to honor the deal, and what she did to get the difference refunded. [Elliott.org]
Tonik is the rad, x-treme! lifestyle health insurance for young people who can’t afford regular insurance—sort of the Poochie of health insurance, except it’s not going to go away. Aasma wrote to us to let us know that when she signed up for it over the weekend, she got a nasty surprise after she submitted her credit card information.