Larceny by 101 Niggling Fees
Competition and low interest rates have made it harder for banks and credit-card issuers to clean up by lending you money. Solution: More fees!

(MONEY Magazine) - Competition and low interest rates have made it harder for banks and credit-card issuers to clean up by lending you money. Solution: More fees! Higher fees! Last year, Americans shelled out $4.3 billion in ATM charges, according to Greg McBride of Bankrate.com, and the average credit-card late fee tickled the $30 mark. Exorbitant interest-rate hikes were as punishing as ever. You can't always erase these injustices, but you can avoid them.

SOURCES: Bankrate.com, Consumer Action, MONEY research.

After one late payment, the average family will pay an

extra $1,129 annually in higher interest and fees.

SOURCES: Center for Responsible Lending,

Bankrate.com.

OTHER STUFF YOU HATE

The Problem

Phone-Service Surprise

"Slamming," the phone scam that won't go away, is when your

long-distance phone service is switched without your permission. It's illegal,

potentially costly and hard to detect among all the inscrutable charges on

today's bills.

How to Fight Back

Make a Call

By law, you don't have to pay for the first 30 days, so catch the slam early by

scouring your bill regularly. Call the slammer--the number will be on the bill,

probably real small--and demand that the charges be stricken. Then call your

real carrier and ask to be switched back for free. If things don't shake out in

one billing cycle, take it to the FCC: 888-225-5322 or

fcc.gov.cgb/complaints.html.

Ask your carrier to place a free "PIC freeze"

on your account, preventing your service from being switched unless the company

hears directly from you. Top of page

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.
Manage alerts | What is this?
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.