These 18 Fees Might Be Costing You More Than $5,300 a Year
Fees seem to come at us from every direction. Devin Fergus, a professor of history, black studies and public affairs at the University of Missouri, wrote a book about them titled “Land of the Fee: Hidden Costs and the Decline of the American Middle Class.” On the Knowledge@Wharton podcast, he said, “Americans are paying more than ever in fees, which are tacked on to the price of everything from utility bills to concert tickets.”
These fees are quietly draining the wallets of the middle class, he said. Fergus believes these predatory practices stem from the loosening of federal oversight of fees during the last 30 years.
Here are some of the most aggravating of these fees and how they can add up to put a big dent in your bank account over a year’s time.
Attorney Lauren Wolfe, who founded KillResortFees.com, describes these as mandatory charges for amenities, many of which used to be free, like daily newspaper delivery, in-room coffee and use of the pool or gym. These may or may not be revealed prior to checking in. Lodging facilities advertise one low price to get you to book a room, and then add on a resort fee.
According to Federal Trade Commission study, in total consumers paid an estimated $2 billion in resort fees in 2015.
Resort Fees: By the Numbers
Airplane Seat Reservation Fees
Some people need an aisle or window seat on a plane. Almost no one needs the uncomfortable, unpleasant middle seat. To reserve your preferred pew is going to cost you on many airlines, as USA Today’s Dawn Gilbertson outlines.
Airplane Seat Reservation Fees: By the Numbers
Checked Baggage Fees
Frequent travelers know that most airlines charge you to check your bags, and those fees seem to be on the rise. Instead of stuffing all your belongings in a carry-on and fighting for space in the overhead compartments, you pay the fee. Should your packed bag weigh more than 50 pounds, you’ll pay even more.
Checked Baggage Fees: By the Numbers
The more luxurious the hotel, the better chance you’ll have to pay for an internet connection in your room. More economical lodging often gives it away for free. Doesn’t make sense, does it?
Often this trend can be traced to the quality of the connection. Upscale hotels invest in better technology. Plus, their guests usually aren’t price sensitive. When something is free, there’s less chance staff will get complaints about it.
Note: Resort fees sometimes include an internet connection.
Internet Fees: By the Numbers
Hotel Parking Fees
Self-parking in busy metropolises like Honolulu, Chicago and New York can run even higher. Valet parking and tips for the valet can shoot your whole vacation budget. Where does this money go, anyway?
Hotel Parking Fees: By the Numbers
Ticket Convenience Fees
Buying tickets online for a concert, a sporting event or a even a movie comes with a surcharge, which can be hefty. You could easily end up paying 20 percent of the cost of a ticket.
Ticket Convenience Fees: By the Numbers
Food Delivery Fees
Using services like GrubHub, UberEats, Postmates and DoorDash to have fully prepared and cooked meals delivered to your home has become commonplace. Customers love the convenience. According to a study of 1,518 adults conducted by U.S. Foods, the average person has two food delivery apps on their phone and orders from them three times a month.
FYI: The same survey also asked 497 delivery drivers a few questions. Twenty-eight percent of them said they’d sampled the food they were delivering.
Food Delivery Fees: By the Numbers
Late Credit Card Payment Fees
Almost universally, banks and credit card companies tack on a fee when a consumer makes a late payment. The charges range from $25-$35, but can go as high as $37. A poll conducted by CreditCards.com in 2017 revealed the four top reasons people pay late or miss payments are: forgetting (60 percent), not enough money (35 percent), they were too busy (13 percent) or they were on the road (11 percent).
These same people don’t just make payments after the due date, but they do it 2-4 times a year.
Late Credit Card Payment Fees: By the Numbers
Overdraft Protection Fees: By the Numbers
Car Dealer Prep Fees
The dealer prep fee should be a haggling point; it’s the dealer’s job to have the car ready for you to take home. But this isn’t the only questionable fee charged by car dealers.
Car Dealer Prep Fees: By the Numbers
Destination Fees for New Cars
The cost to ship the car from the factory to the dealer’s lot, called a destination fee, can range from $700-$1,000. It’s always passed on to the customer and listed on the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) window sticker. Anything listed on your paperwork that says ADL or additional dealer markup is some extra profit the dealer threw in for himself.
Do they also charge for new car smell?
Destination Fees for New Cars: By the Numbers
College Application Fees
These costs only apply to someone trying to garner a college acceptance, of course. If you or your kin are rejected by these institutions of higher learning, that’s money you will never get back. In 2016, for instance, the University of California, Los Angeles profited by more than $5 million with declined application fees, reports CNBC.
College Application Fees: By the Numbers
Unlisted Phone Number Fees
No wonder everyone is getting rid of their landlines. People pay this fee for the phone company to not do something.
Unlisted Phone Number Fees: By the Numbers
Cell Phone Fees
This is $225 more than you signed up for above the normal wireless service charges. A combination of fees and taxes make up this extra amount. Some of these fees are necessary and valuable, like the one that funds 911.
But the Universal Service Fund means you’re paying extra so those in rural communities and those with low-income have access to cell service. Other fees give your carrier a way to transfer their expenses to you.
Cell Phone Fees: By the Numbers
Flight Change Fees
Most major U.S. airlines charge if you change or cancel a flight you’ve already purchased. Plans change, people get sick and major events pop up. You’ve purchased non-refundable tickets to save money and that’s going to cost you.
Flight Change Fees: By the Numbers
Cable Cancellation Fees
Are you a cable customer ready to cut the cord? It’s going to cost you if you do so before your Then 24-month contract is up. The cancellation fee, according to CBS News, can be a whopping $400.
Cable Cancellation Fees: By the Numbers
Annual Credit Card Fees
Rewards credit cards usually charge the highest annual fees, so you need to calculate to see if your rewards outweigh the annual charge. If they don’t you might want to look for another card. Branded airline and hotel credit cards also tend to charge annual fees.
Annual Credit Card Fees: By the Numbers
Although the number of ATMs in your network is on the increase, so are the charges for using one not sanctioned by your bank. You may be out of town, need money and can’t find your bank or credit union’s ATM. Or you’re at a state fair, the vendor only deals in cash and you absolutely have to have their vegetable spiralizer.