Using Stealth Fees to Increase Revenue

I don't like ideas like this.

America used to be the land of the free. Now, it's the land of the fee. Companies, hard-pressed for money, are taking every possible opportunity to nickel-and-dime people to death. Need a monthly brokerage account statement mailed to you? Ameritrade (AMTD ) may charge you $2 per statement. Want your hotel room cleaned? The Alexander Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla., will bill you an extra $2.50 daily for housekeeping. Have to return a new camcorder? Best Buy (BBY ) Co. will dock you 15% as a "restocking fee." Want to buy a season ticket for pro football? The New York Jets will make you pay $50 for the privilege of getting on their waiting list.

Many consumers are dealing with the fees because they are hidden, but as people become more aware of the charges, I think they will stop patronizing businesses that use them. For instance, I love Best Buy, but I don't shop there unless I am absolutely sure I want to buy something, because they have that stupid 15% restocking fee. Compare that to Sports Authority, where I more frequently make impulse purchases because they have a very liberal return policy.

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The more I hear about companies trying to pull one of over on consumers, the more I think someone should start a company that montiors all this crap and for a small monthly fee, helps consumers make good purchasing decisions, sort of like a Consumer Reports with a broader range.

  • Very good emphasized: ‘America used to be the land of free’. In our time, indeed, it can’t be anymore.

  • James Barribeau

    I totally agree that too much stealth inflation plagues our greedy system and that democracy needs more government control. Every bill I get monthly has hidden fees and sometimes even go so far as to call them statuatory fees. Telephone bills, insurances, cable t.v., credit cards and more.