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America's Biggest Rip-offs

Are you infuriated every time you open your cell phone bill? Livid when you buy a snack at the movies? These are nine of the rawest deals around.

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Text messages - 6,500% markup
Text messages - 6,500% markup
Text messages are short, quick and cheap to transmit. So why are they adding so much to your wireless bill?

The messages are such a tiny piece of data that they cost carriers only about one-third of a cent to deliver, according to computer scientist Srinivasan Keshav, who testified before U.S. senators on the issue last summer.

But on a pay-per-text plan, the 160-character messages typically cost 20 cents outgoing and 10 cents incoming. That's a markup of as much as 6,500%. OMG!

"It's pretty much pure profit," Keshav says. "Carriers would argue they put that money toward investing in new technology."

Even if customers sign up for an unlimited texting plan for, say, $10 a month, carriers are still cashing in considering that their overhead is basically $0. That's a lot to pay for a few LOLs.


NEXT: Movie theater popcorn - 900% markup
Last updated February 02 2010: 11:12 AM ET
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