Being Aware of Extra Fees ~ Part One

If you haven’t considered following this blog – you might want to do it now.  Not only would I appreciate it, but I am going to try and hit every industry in the next few articles and make you aware of some of those annoying extra fees you might find each time you try to buy something.  

As I said in previous articles, I look over my receipts.  I am totally annoyed by all the extra fees that companies keeping adding to my totals.  Who came up with this method of charging for things anyway?  What happened to the one price method?  These added fees and charges always pop up after I buy something and especially when I have no choice to opt out,  go elsewhere for my items, or even negotiate it away.It's a revenue stream for me

Any commodity or item, you use for convenience or out of  necessity can  have these fees tacked on.  My opinion is that it started with sales tax.  Almost all of the states have it and, I believe they all thought charging everyone a little extra on everything would help them fill their coffers.   No one in the check out line ever said, you know I don’t think I’ll pay the sales tax today.  Basically, they couldn’t –  the states didn’t alloy anyone to  have a choice.  It’s pay the tax or you don’t get the item.  Sure, we can all run off to Delaware (currently they don’t have a sales tax) but even Delaware would be full before long and they’d likely need to implement a sales tax to deal with all those extra residents.

Ultimately scores of businesses jumped on the bandwagon with the states and decided to add “additional fees” whether you like it, want them, use them or need them.  These added fees are on almost everything.  This phenomenon has prolifierated  into just about every industry.  Here’s a few that particularly annoy me.  Remember everything I write is based on my own opinion and experiences and no one paid me to write these articles.

Phone Service:  On most phone bills there are a myriad of charges like the access fees, 911 fees, sales tax, goverment fees, and  line charges that even the phone company has a hard time explaining.  Recently on my phone bill from a known carrier I had a new charge.  This one is called a prop tax schg/fed reg fee and carrier universal service charge.  These charges are NOT taxes or amounts required by law.  They are charges which this company chooses to charge each user in order to collect and administer the “required” taxes and fees which ARE required by law.  Really?   Previously, when I checked this charge from this came company it said the extra fees were to recoup operation costs and real estate tax increases.  Really?  So any part of their business which needs an influx of cash that month?  Because let’s face it people, those are not, in my opinion, legitimate extra costs to be passed on, those are straight forward operating costs which are supposed to be already built into their base price (and likely are).

Read more “Being Aware of Extra Fees ~ Part One”

Smart Aleck’s

Smart Aleck, smart alec, doesn’t matter ~ everyone knows at least one.    In cyberland, there are millions.  Some just give sound advice that you wish you never knew existed.  Others like to point out how you can change things in your life, if only you would.  Some just like to laugh at your misfortunes, even if they caused them in the first place.  Some think it’s funny to make and deploy viruses.Smart Aleck

Two days ago, I met one of the last group.  It took me and my husband over four hours to “work around” and get access back to my computer.   How did this happen you ask?  I went out to the web to look at a thesaurus because the word I wanted to use “unfixable” just didn’t fit with my article.  I found one I wanted to use ~  incurable ~  but I also got zapped with a virus of mega proportions.  Ironic right after that to feel like my computer was might ultimately be incurable.

This virus would not allow me access to any of my programs, anything on my desktop or allow access to the internet. It just kept popping up and telling me I had to click here, and of course as a seasoned computer user, that was not going to happen.  Even with our considerable computer knowledge, and other computers we could use to investigate and find out how to get around this particular virus, it took us four hours and considerable cursing.  If that’s what the smart aleck of this had in mind, someone tell him or her, it worked. Read more “Smart Aleck’s”

Incurable Mistakes

You have been there.  A mistakes is made, but a solution cannot be found.

My first inkling that I might be a victim of an incurable mistake is an invoice for lab tests.  I look at the bill and see my insurance company paid .02 cents and I owe $97.10.  This was a mistake, as I had kept careful track of my deductible – and I had fully met my $1200.00 deductible the  month before these lab tests.

Round 1 (next morning) I call and hit the jackpot with a representative who looks through the file, finds the error, and then documents it for the “researcher” who will get it first.  Then it goes back to claims and the bill will be resubmitted for payment.  I am on the phone about 30 minutes and am thinking … wasn’t that easy.  How refreshing!Incurable Mistakes

Round 2 (2 weeks later) My resubmission of the claim is denied for the same “WRONG” reason the first one was — my out of pocket costs were miscalculated.  My first representative saw this and documented it, but somehow whoever the researcher was missed it.  So I email them.  I get a response I cannot open at first (security issues) and when I do, it restated their position about the out of pocket and flatly denies the claim.

Round 3 (next day) I call and find out that they admit a mistake was indeed made, but it’s really too hard to fix and there is no provision for fixing it.   WHAT?  This particular “incurable mistake” happened with a pharmacy error in May of the previous year.   It cannot be fixed because pharmacy (prescription medicine) has only a 15 day window in which anyone can challenge a pharmacy error. Read more “Incurable Mistakes”

Unethical Dentistry

How many of you check your dental invoices to make sure you (or your children) received everything you actually paid for?  I am in the habit of checking all of my receipts and can tell you honestly that I usually find mistakes in almost every receipt.

This particular blog post is about a dentist who likely pads every bill and one way she tried to pad mine.

I have bonded front teeth which means that there only parts of my real front teeth remaining, and the rest is bonded and shaped to look natural.  The bonding lasts 10-15 years  and occasionally a piece cracks off and has to be repaired.   The repair is usually one visit to the dentist and costs about $300, based on my own experiences.Unethical Dentistry

The last time the bonding broke off , I went online and searched for a yearly dental plan.   These plans offer discounts across the board for any dental services.  They are relatively inexpensive and there are benefits above and beyond just bonding.  I looked for a plan that gave me what I thought I would  need for the year, at the lowest possible cost and had no waiting time.  These plans will often provide discounted rates  for your entire family, or anyone who is related and lives in your household at no additional cost.  Remember it’s not insurance and it’s not a copayment situation,  you pay to get all the listed services at a discounted price.  Many of these plans also provide  free checkups, free x-rays, and even free cleanings.  You pay for the year, get your card(s) and list of dentists (check this out before you sign up, as you do want to make sure there are some in your actual location first!) and then you are free to call and set up your appointment with any of their listed dentists or specialists. Read more “Unethical Dentistry”

Its Annoying ~ Short ~ US Savings Bonds

I don’t know about you, but there was something that “felt good” about having US Savings Bonds.  You were investing in the country you love, and the belief that without a doubt they were both responsible and able to pay you back with interest.  Holding the bond for a period of time you could double your investment.  They earned interest indefinately.

It was a standard gift to give for a new baby, because you knew that by the time they got around to cashing that bond, the interest would have accrued to a much more favorable number than your original investment.US-Savings-Bonds

It was a safe-haven against anything and everything that we imagined (at the time) could go wrong.  “At least I have those bonds”  ~ and that felt like a security blanket of sorts.

Well, that bubble started to burst a while back when the interest rate went close to 0% (current rate .60%). In the 1980’s bonds matured in 8-12 years, some had fixed rates of interest, some had market rates with a guarantee of a certain percentage of interest.  Todays bonds (since June 2003) take 20 years to mature to their face value, and only earn interest for 30 years.

All banks handled bonds.  No longer.  In fact as of December 31, 2011 they are all going electronic.  Existing bonds are not affected, and are still valid and able to earn interest for 30 years.  Banks will still cash your bonds for you, or even convert your paper bonds into electronic ones.  If you wish to buy bonds after December 31st, you will need to go to

But for  me, it’s annoying.  I just do not feel the same about an electronic stake in this great country!  I can’t hold it, I can’t see it, and well, it just isn’t the same.

All opinions in these articles are mine and I have not been compensated in any way for these posts.