Friday, January 29, 2010

How to Avoid Sneaky Fees

SICK OF BEING nickel-anddimed? Here’s how to fight some of the most egregious stealthy charges. For additional tips on fighting sneaky fees, go to

1. Sneaky Fee: Your wireless carrier charges you for storing contacts remotely or subscribing to ringtones, even though you didn’t request the services.
FEE FIX: Fight the charges with your carrier. If that doesn’t work, contact the Better Business Bureau for help. Look for alternatives, too: Yahoo Mobile offers a free mobile address book.

2. Sneaky Fee: You have your ticket, but when you get to the airport, the airline says you owe an extra $125 for transporting your bags.
FEE FIX: Most airlines charge $25 for checking a second bag, and they heap on heftier fees (up to $100) for overweight bags. American Airlines charges $15 for the first bag. To avoid the charges, pack light. You can also shop around—Orbitz offers a handy chart ( that breaks down how much extra you will pay for bags, meals, and snacks with different airlines.

3. Sneaky Fee: Your cable company’s triple-play (TV, Internet, and phone) package charges you extra for a 20-mbps Internet connection, but you’re getting only 5 mbps. You also pay extra for premium phone features such as call forwarding, but you’ve never used them.
FEE FIX: Run an Internet speed test at a site like Broadband-; if the speed is slower than expected, ask your provider for a discount. Investigate your service provider’s other packages with fewer bells and whistles, and request a no-penalty transfer. Threaten to take your business elsewhere if your provider doesn’t agree.

4. Sneaky Fee: Wachovia Bank charges $5.95 a month to download data to Microsoft Money, QuickBooks, or Quicken.
FEE FIX: A number of banks charge similar fees. Ask if you can switch to an account that doesn’t charge to download data; at Wachovia, the fee is waived if you have a “premium” savings account that maintains a $5000 balance.

Source of Information : PC World December 2009

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