10 Fees You Shouldn’t Pay

  • Money Wasters: Extra Fees

    If there’s one thing we’ve learned from airlines during the past year, it’s that few things are as frustrating as having an extra fee tacked onto your bill. But while consumers may have little choice but to pay airline fees, there are many other fees that we get stuck with on a regular basis. They can be easily avoided if you know to look out for them. BillShrink.com, an online service that helps consumers cut costs on everyday items, recently put together a list of 10 fees for which you should never have to pay. Photo Credit: purpleslog
    Directory Assistance Fees
  • Directory Assistance Fees

    If you’re thinking about calling 411 for directory assistance, put down the phone and read this first. According to BillShrink, carriers may charge you $1.25 or more each time you make a call with this number. Instead, they recommend using services like 1-GOOG-411 or (800) FREE-411. It may be a few extra digits, but it’ll save you money. For more tips to cut down on your phone bill, check out this MainStreet feature. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    In-Store Credit Fees
  • In-Store Credit Fees

    It may be difficult to turn down a store credit card when the sales person is forcing them in your face during checkout, with promises of big in-store discounts. However, according to BillShrink, these cards have two big potential drawbacks. First, though they made have a low interest rate initially, that rate could rise to 20% or more if you are late making a payment. On top of that, just by applying for a new card, you may lower your current credit score. Check out this MainStreet article for a complete breakdown of which store credit cards are worth getting and which are rip-offs. Photo Credit: stevendepolo
    Non-Bank ATM Fees
  • Non-Bank ATM Fees

    We’ve covered this one many times, so really, you have no excuse to keep making this mistake! But just to mention it once more, when consumers take out money from ATMs that are not affiliated with their bank, they may be subject to an extra fee ranging from $1 - $4. In fact, these fees increase by an average of 7% a year, so the problem will only get worse. If you’re running low on cash and need to get more, you might consider asking for cash back from a retailer or visiting a bank that will reimburse you for your ATM charges. Alternatively, if you have a smartphone, there are several apps that help locate nearby ATMs that won’t charge you an extra fee. Photo Credit: thinkpanama
    Credit Card Late Fees/Overdraft Fees
  • Credit Card Late Fees/Overdraft Fees

    These two issues used to be more of an issue, but they are less of a concern now thanks to recent credit card legislation. Consumers now decide whether they want to opt in to overdraft protection and incur fees when they overdraw their account, or instead, just to allow their charge to bounce when their funds are low. Late fees, on the other hand, have now been capped at $25, which is less than it used to be, but is still a lot of money to pay for simply forgetting to pay a bill, so try to be diligent. Photo Credit: xJasonRogersx
    Car Maintenance Fees
  • Car Maintenance Fees

    Car dealerships may encourage you to keep bringing in your car to them for repairs even after the warranty runs out, but you should know better. As BillShrink notes, dealerships may overcharge and are generally less likely to negotiate a better price than independent repair shops. Check out MainStreet’s list of other car dealer secrets here. Photo Credit: ryantxr
    Airline Cancellation Fees
  • Airline Cancellation Fees

    These days, airlines have an absurd amount of extra fees on everything from pillows to leg room. But as bad as these fees are, they all pale in comparison to the cost you incur from canceling your flight. Several airlines charge $100 or more to change or cancel a flight. Fortunately, there is a growing movement of consumer advocates looking to eliminate this and other fees. Photo Credit: Dave Heuts
    Cell Phone Early Termination Fees (ETFs)
  • Cell Phone Early Termination Fees (ETFs)

    It may sound like common knowledge, but one recent study from the Federal Trade Commission found that 18% of Americans don’t realize they are subject to early termination fees when they try to get out of their cell phone contract before its term expires. This is a particularly costly issue given that companies like AT&T now charge as much as $350 to cancel your cell phone plan prematurely. Photo Credit: bvsciguy
    Cable Company Contracts Cancellation Fees
  • Cable Company Contracts Cancellation Fees

    As with cell phone contracts, it can be costly to switch cable providers in the middle of a contract. So be sure to ask your cable provider about this cost and factor that in before you make any decisions about upgrading or moving to a different provider. For more crazy cable stories, check out this piece from our consumer outrage series. Photo Credit: hoggarazzi
    Roaming Fees
  • Roaming Fees

    If you’re planning to go on a road trip or vacation, make sure you call your provider to make sure that you won’t be subject to outlandish roaming fees when making a call from your cell phone. As BillShrink points out, some carriers charge $2 or more per minute in roaming charges, and if you decide to send a video message or check your voicemail, the fee may be even higher. If you have a smartphone, one option you have is to download apps like Skype and Google Voice, which let you make free or discounted domestic and international phone calls. Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography
    Reward Card Annual Fees
  • Reward Card Annual Fees

    Reward cards may be tempting, but before you sign up, check to see if that card has an annual fee. If so, you may want to think twice and consider one of the many cards that come with great rewards and have no annual fees. BillShrink recommends the Chase Sapphire card and the Capital One No Hassle Miles Rewards card. Check out MainStreet’s roundup of some of the best and worst rewards cards. Photo Credit: Andres Rueda
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