Our Friend, Hidden Fees

A new article in the Boston Globe explains why hidden fees work. You may have gotten that printer for free with your computer but you could be paying $1,500 in ink cartridges over the next four years.

According to some economic theorists, it’s actually more expensive to give straight up deals and pricing, because then you have to advertise not only your product, but another company’s as well. Sophisticated consumers will flock to the hidden fee locale, knowing to skimp out on the $25 can of Coke and $14 eggs at breakfast.

What do you think? Do you enjoy breaking out the microscope? Will these companies get bit in the ass by their own bad behavior? Or is there a cartel mentality, that if every company behaves badly, they will all get away with it? In your book, who are the worst hidden fee offenders?

“The Hidden Economy” [Boston Globe]

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