Add-on Fees. Good or Bad?
In short, I consider airline baggage fees to be reasonable—along with charges for food and drink.
Know What Your Competitors Are Doing to Their Customers.
• Hotels: When [Steve] Lundin checked into the Casa Marina resort in Key West, Fla., on a business trip this month, the desk clerk told him he would have to pay a $14 "resort fee" on top of the room rate for his one-night stay. "She told me it was for parking my car, using towels at the pool, shuttle service to the airport, yada, yada, yada," he said. When he told her he had arrived by ferry and did not plan to use the pool, she only shrugged. —Melinda Ligos, The New York Times
• Law Firms: After the recession sparked a widespread revolt over generous law-firm fees, clients are increasingly raising objections to big bills for legal miscellany. Invoices for food, photocopies and legal research—items that once were rubber-stamped by companies—are drawing howls. As for charges for first-class flights? Clients are simply saying, "No more." Some routine costs, such as an attorney's cab fare to the courthouse, are minuscule compared with the huge sums lawyers bill for work on complex mergers or lawsuits. But other items, such photocopying, often pile up and can amount to millions of dollars a year for some big companies. —Jennifer Smith, The Wall Street Journal
• Credit Cards: A typical example works this way, according to Levin and Coleman: A customer charges $5,020 in merchandise and pays $5,000 of it by the payment-due date after getting the first bill. The next bill will include the $20 that wasn't paid but also $34.78 in interest charges on the entire $5,020.
If the customer had paid the entire $5,020, no interest charge would have been imposed. In short, credit card companies eliminate the grace period in which no interest is charged if the balance isn't paid in full every month. This practice hurts millions of customers who pay their bills on time, the senators said. —Kathleen Day, The Washington Post