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June 15, 2009 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Service Charges

If Congress really wanted to make a difference to the average Joe and Jane, they would ban service charges.

I am so over service charges.  I loathe them.  If you only encounter service charges once in a while, they seem okay.  But lately my life seems to be one big, fat service charge.  And the ironic thing about every single one of them is that I get no service at all for the charge.  It’s insanity that we as a nation have not revolted yet, based on the service charge concept.  It’s ridiculous.

Phone bills are probably the worst.  When you set up a phone, be it a normal land line or a cell, they quote you a low, low price of $49.99 a month.  Or whatever.  But the bill is never $49.99.  It’s more like $62.34, always a crazy amount that makes balancing a checkbook a fearsome task.  And the extra fees come in the form of mysterious “service charges.”  I would much prefer that they round the bill up to $65.00, and just tell me straight up front that it was going to cost me $65.00.  It would cause less anxiety and anger that way. 

Service charges run rampant in banks.  When my check card got stolen, I get to pay for the investigation.  This is called a “service charge.”  Every time someone on the other side of the phone or website touches a button, a service charge is charged.  Just call it what it is!  Put “highway robbery” onto my statement instead of “service charge.”  No one is doing me any favors. 

Automobile repair shops and car dealerships have perfected the art of the service charge.  I think that they may have been the ones that invented it.  Car dealerships factor in years of service charges if you are the kind of person that needs a loan to pay for a car. 

If you have to get something fixed, then service charges appear in strange places on your bill.  Oil change?  There is an environmental service charge to remove the oil nowadays.  Need your roof fixed?  Service charge because a ladder and danger is involved.  Just do everyone a favor and factor the extra two dollars into the price. 

I think that service charges are making us all crazy.  We think something is going to cost fifty dollars, but it never does.  We can’t prepare for that!  We never know what to expect!  We have nothing stable to hang our hats on in life.  If we had a place to hang our hat, it would probably include a service charge too.

I get that companies are out to make money.  Great.  Do it.  But I recommend that companies:

  • Round up to the nearest dollar.  I am sick of 99 cent anything.
  • Don’t call it a service charge.  Either blend it in and call it The Actual Cost or give it an accurate name…”fee of suckage” comes to mind. 
  • Remove service charges to save the environment.  If companies removed these dumb charges, the cost of printing would be reduced by three quarters.  This is based on my phone bill, which is one page of bill and three pages of dumb charges. 
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4 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Allison / Jul 5 2009 9:20 am

    The .99 thing is psychological warfare.

  2. talea / Jun 19 2009 11:33 am

    Yeah. The ‘bend over and cough’ charges.
    They’ll screw you over every time.

  3. Carli / Jun 18 2009 12:16 pm

    Another thing I hate is how EVERYONE expects to be tipped now a days. It seems like everybody has a little “college fund” jar by the counter just to guilt people into giving up the dough. Speaking of tipping….I never have figured out what to tip and to whom. It’s quite tricky.

  4. Expat 21 / Jun 16 2009 4:18 am

    Wow, I hear you, and agree!!!!!

That's what she said!

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