It’s no fun to read the fine print. But, increasingly, not doing so means losing more and more money in “hidden” fees. Here are some common “hidden” fees you probably don’t realize you’re paying:
- Cable Bills: Special cable TV networks like regional sports channels cost extra, so if you’re not watching those channels be sure to negotiate a package that doesn’t include them (or their fees). Also, compare the rental price of your cable internet modem with one you could buy to replace it. Chances are very good you could save money by owning rather than renting.
- Banking: Even so-called “free” checking accounts often have a monthly fee if you go below a certain balance. In addition to “out of network” fees your bank attaches to using certain ATMs, you may get dinged with a second fee—one from your bank and one from the bank that owns the ATM you’re using. Bank machines will inform you of the charges on their end before you proceed, so pay attention.
- Event tickets: Buying tickets to concerts or sporting events online usually means paying a hefty fee per ticket. Even tickets you print at home often have a “delivery fee” charge. Buy directly from venue box offices when possible.
- Resort fees: Extra hotel fees are incredibly common. Not only will you pay for anything you take from the minibar, you may also get charged extra for additional towels or on-site parking. You may not be able to avoid the fees, but be sure to ask in advance so you’re informed before you book.
- Car rentals: If you’re flying in to a city and renting a car, there may be hidden fees (look for ‘facility charges or ‘concession recovery’ fees) when you rent a car at the airport. See if you can rent a vehicle without those fees somewhere else in town, and take a taxi or rideshare service to get there.
Check the Consumer Reports “What the fee?” site for more information about hidden fees and how to avoid them, including success stories from Consumer Reports users: action.consumerreports.org/whatthefee/