Year of the Unfair Fees

The year 2011 was a challenging economic year for many, with housing prices continuing to fall in many parts of the country, with unemployment numbers remaining high and with a credit crunch making it challenging for many to get new cards or unsecured loans.

Those going through economic turmoil were, unfortunately, faced with little understanding from many corporate conglomerates. In fact, so many companies instituted so many silly fees and surcharges that 2011 may as well be known as the year of unfair fees.

Whether you are taking out unsecured loans, opening a bank account or signing a TV service contract, it is up to you to read the contract carefully and be mindful of the fees you are being assessed.

Debit Card Use Fees

Many people who are trying to get out of debt and pay off credit cards, unsecured loans and other obligations may consider making a commitment to avoiding credit and using their debit card instead. Unfortunately, in 2011, many banks wanted to try to make this more expensive for consumers who were trying to be financially responsible.

Faced with a limit on the fees they could charge for debit transactions, a number of banks began to explore the idea of a monthly charge to consumers of between $4 and $5 just for using their debt card. Politicians and the public reacted so strongly against this, however, that the banks relented and gave up the plan. [ed. Just like Suze Orman’s new blunder!]

Fees for Depositing Cash

Also near the top of the list are the fees that certain banks institute to business customers who deposit large sums of money. Some banks will charge a small fee if you deposit in excess of a certain amount, depending upon the type for account you have. For instance, one major bank charges .20 for each $100 in cash deposited over $10,000. The fees are small, but some customers are still upset at the principle. After all, just what is that fee justified by since all you are going is giving the bank your cash to put into your account.

Airline Fees

Airline fees aren’t a new thing and almost everyone is now aware that they’ll be charged for bags on many flights. However, in 2011, some airlines decided to try to take things a step further. Passengers faced fees for booking a ticket, for printing a boarding pass at the counter instead of at home and even for taking a carry-on bag. These surprise fees that hit you may make it difficult to comparison shop for the best flights, making it harder for cash-strapped consumers to find affordable travel.

Early Termination Fees

Early termination fees have become standard for cell phone contracts, but the dreaded charges are now spreading to other industries as well. Some television service providers have now instituted early termination fees for consumers who end their contracts with the service providers early. The cable and satellite companies attempt to justify this by saying they need to cover the prices of the expensive equipment used to provide you with service, but the companies have come under fire anyway. In fact, one major satellite company recently had to settle with regulators over its business practices and cancellation policy.

Watching for Fees

Only by being diligent will you avoid the excessive fees that banks and other companies are beginning to institute in a time when every cent counts.

Post by MoneySupermarket.

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  • 2 comments

    Comments

    1. It seems everybody wants to take your money. I’ve been noticing the last few days how it just seems more companies and organizations are on the take compared to what they were in the past. It gets depressing!

    2. Our banks started charging a ‘paper statement’ or ‘check image’ fee this past year, but I noticed on our latest statements that it was gone. Maybe all the protests over the debit fees helped us out on this one too.

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