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,
OTHER STUFF YOU HATE
"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
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
Ask your carrier to place a free "PIC freeze"
on your account, preventing your service from being switched unless the company