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Put a Stop to These Hidden Costs!

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Ever feel like hidden fees are always getting the best of you? You’re probably right! Here’s a list of common fees that consumers pay. Take a few minutes to review your own situation. Chances are, you can save yourself from at least a couple of them.

  1. Credit card fees: One of the worst offenders, credit card companies are adept at collecting fees. If you aren’t regularly reviewing your statements, you should be. Even if the balance is paid in full every month, the credit card issuer can make money on ATM transactions, international transactions, and annual fees.
  2. Bank fees: The most common bank fees are ATM fees, minimum balance fees, maintenance fees, overdraft charges, and fees for paper statements. While receiving statements electronically is a wonderful service, it occasionally results in less-than-diligent monitoring of accounts. Take the time to review your statement and understand the policies that allow the bank to charge fees. In all likelihood, a few changes in your routine could save considerable cash. Try to keep the balance of the account above the minimum and use only ATMs associated with your bank. Even these small actions will make a difference.
  3. Trial period promotions: These promotions encourage consumers to try products “risk free.” The product maker is counting on the consumer to neglect to return the product before the trial period ends.
  4. Unintended subscriptions: Ever ordered a product or a magazine only to find that the merchandise keeps getting renewed without your taking any action? Chances are, you’ve signed up for an unintended subscription. Always read the small print, and if possible, don’t pay with a credit card. If you must utilize the system, cancel the automatic reordering program immediately upon receiving the first installment.
  5. Promotion periods: We’ve all signed up for a great deal, only to learn that the deal ends in 6 months, the price skyrockets, and the contract last for 2 years! Cable, internet, and cell phone companies are the worst. Read the contract. If you’re already locked in, call and negotiate. Most companies will work with you to keep you a happy, paying customer.
  6. Hotels: Recently, many mid-level to upper-level hotels have started charging “resort” fees and parking fees. The cost can range from $5 per night to upwards of $20 per night. When making a reservation online or over the phone, ask about additional fees. If you don’t ask, they may not mention it until it’s time to check out.
  7. Airlines: Checked bag fees, carry-on fees, booking fees. With airlines, the list is long. Before making a booking, check the airline’s policies and be sure to include additional fees in the final price of the ticket. It may be that a ticket that looks cheaper may not be so after all fees are included.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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