It used to be that if a retailer charged a fee or surcharge to use a credit card, that violated their merchant agreement with the credit card companies, and they got in trouble. Those heady days are over, and it’s now cool for merchants to impose surcharge on your purchases with plastic. And so it begins. Here’s one spotted in the wild on a vending machine. [More]
Earlier this week, we told you that a settlement in a huge lawsuit between merchants and Visa and MasterCard was in the offing and that it could open the door to retailers tacking on surcharges to credit card customers. Well, that proposed settlement has come to pass, meaning you may soon be paying more for the privilege of using your credit card. [More]
A Georgia woman says a local nail salon padded her bill by $5, and when she asked what the charge was for, she was told it was because she was too fat for their fancy-fragile salon chairs: “[The salon manager explained] the surcharge was due to costly repairs of broken chairs by overweight customers. She said the chairs have a weight capacity of 200 pounds and cost $2,500 to fix.” [More]
Since consumers didn’t whine too much about the addition of $10 “just because” fees airlines imposed on busy travel days, they’ve added fees on more days. Goody for us!
Midwest utility Xcel Energy wants to charge anyone using solar panels a monthly fee for sustainably generating their own energy. According to company spokesman Tom Henley, “We just don’t think it’s fair that customers that don’t have solar panels on their homes should subsidize these solar panel customers any further.” Huh?
So, it’s not exactly good news, but between the toilet tax and priority boarding fees, Reuters thinks that airlines may have run out of “perks” worth excluding from a ticket’s base price. The bad news? All those new airline fees aren’t going anywhere. American Airlines, which last year pocketed an extra billion in “ancillary revenue,” calls them “a pretty big success story.”
Jetblue charged Carl $50 to check a small box. If Carl hadn’t mentioned that there was a small foldable bike in the box, his package would have been checked for free…
Royal Caribbean’s odd “steak fee” proved to be such a success that the bleed-’em-dry cruise line has decided to add yet another extraneous charge to their “all-inclusive” service: a late night room service fee! Gone are the days of waking up from a seasick-induced nightmare at 3 a.m. to the comforting thought of, “well at least I can order a cheeseburger.” Now, seasickness cures ordered between midnight and 5 a.m. cost $3.95.
And let’s not forget the exorbitant booking fee for using miles for one of our tickets. The actual FLIGHT was only $280 round trip per ticket, but with the booking fee TO USE THE MILES TO PURCHASE A TICKET, we wound up paying over $500.
The price of jet fuel is down, but those fuel surcharges? Nope. They’re up. [USAToday] (Thanks, J!)
The Mexican restaurant chain Chachos is now charging a 7.5% inflation surcharge on all meals with cheese. Skyrocketing commodity prices present restaurants with a menu of unappetizing choices: raise prices, levy surcharges, reduce portions? How would you like your inflation served? Vote in our poll, after the jump.
Reader Brian wants to know how to tell a “surcharge” applied to a credit/debt card transaction vs a convenience charge?
Michael writes, ” I was just reserving a budget rental car, and for some reason decided to actually read some of the fine print.” Buried in the text was something called an “FTP Surcharge,” which basically amounts to a participation fee for any frequent flyer promotion they offer their customers.
Airlines continue to hesitantly flirt with hefty fuel surcharges. Delta, Northwest, and Continental imposed a $20-$40 surcharge over the weekend after previous efforts by United, US Airways, and American failed to stick. Sidestep their pricey dance by purchasing airline tickets between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday evening. [Rick Seaney]
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Steven Dentali, who was charged the fee in October after renting a car from Dollar Rent A Car in Manchester, N.H. “I said to them, ‘You’re telling me I’m penalized no matter what? There’s no way around me having to pay something?’”