Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Rant About Fees

For as long as I can remember, I've hated fees.  It seems that everything has a fee.  Unfortunately for me, it always seems that I'm always paying fees out to people, instead of having fees come to me.

For example...two apartments ago, I had a fee-happy experience.  When I signed the lease, they said they were crediting my first month, so I didn't have anything due until my second month.  It was detailed in the lease I signed.  Cool.  I like keeping money.  15 days later, I got my first of many "happy letters," from the apartment management saying that I had to not only pay my entire first month's rent, but all the fees that accumulated with it because I hadn't paid, and had to do so by the following day or be evicted.  Well yeah, you told me I didn't have to.  Did you read the same paper as me?  You made it a big point that I didn't have to pay the first month.

So after much fighting to start my living experience at that apartment, I ended up having to pay back the first month rent, which apparently the person wasn't authorized to credit in the first place?  They at least dropped the whole eviction threat and let me pay it back over time, being that I was under the impression that I didn't have to pay.  It's not like I'm some deadbeat that chose not to pay.

So then came more, "happy letters," saying that I had to pay off the balance of my money due, else I would face more late fees.  So they're now saying that they're going to charge late fees for having late fees.  Does that make sense to anyone?

Here's another common thing - the laundry card... I had to pay $5 to get the laundry card, and then pay more money to charge it up so that I could use the laundry machines in my building.  All I see this as, is paying a fee to pay a fee.  How productive.

When I was in the hospital, I had to pay a fee to see anything on the TV besides what was on the menu for the day.  Couldn't over $6,000 a day at least get basic local channels?  Instead I had to pay a $12/day fee to watch basic cable.  Fun.

Hell, even on closing day I got hit with a fee.  The seller magically decided that I should pay for the remainder of the oil that was left in the tank.  Of course, they wanted way more than what it was worth, but the closing attorney quickly fixed that.  It just seems asinine to me - when you trade in a car, you don't seek an extra $50 in trade value just because it's got 3/4 of a tank in it.  In the grand scheme of things, $200 worth of oil in a house that sold for $179,000... what's the point other than to piss me off?  Next time I buy a car and trade mine in, I'm going to tell them to give me more for the gas in my tank, just to see what kind of response I get.

Cox likes to give me fees.  Like when I moved, they said, "oh, everything will be free for moving your services because you're a valued customer on this plan of ours."  I get the bill 2 weeks later and they decide to charge me an extra $15.  I call them and ask about this extra $15 charge, and they said that, "yes, the installation of your services were free, but the technician did some extra work while there that wasn't covered."  My answer, "like what?"  "Well, in the notes it says that he installed an extra TV."  "I'd like to know where this TV came from, and how it magically works without a second digital receiver box, because I don't have either.  I own one TV, and all the tech did was climb his fun little pole, did a dance, and suddenly I had a signal in here.  I already pay too much for this crap because you have a monopoly in this area, and I'm sick of your company trying to screw me that much more."  "...I'm sorry. I'll make a note on your account and have billing correct it."

Bank of America is another horrid culprit of stupid f-u fees.  I pay my credit card bill online, so I know it's done on time, and where everything is standing.  The game they like to play is that I'll send in my payment on time, but not process it until it's late.  This happened a few times, so I got hit with their ridiculous late fee, and then bumped up my interest rate because it's now magically not in as good of standing.  So, I ended up fighting my way out of a situation that they created.  Not me.  I ended up closing that account, and spread the word about how horrid Bank of America is, and encourage anyone who has an account with them to go elsewhere.  I suggest your local credit union - you can typically earn interest on a free checking account, rather than being raped.

I'm fairly young, but can still remember a time when there was no such thing as all the fees that most companies now charge.  What the hell is a baggage fee on airlines?  Is it assumed that people no longer need baggage, so bringing it along is a luxury?  I can maybe understand for excessively large or heavy bags, but common luggage that would carry peoples' underpants, shirts, and other necessities?  I guess I'll make it a road trip to Florida next year - sure beats the cost of flying.

I'd like for the day to come that I'll be able to live life without a dozen different companies trying to get a piece of me.  Maybe this is another reason the economy got flushed down the shitter?  People keep making shit up so that others magically owe them more money that they, themselves don't have?


LB @Wait, She Said What? said...

Except the economy being down the shitter is making them chare even MORE fees! Pretty soon they'll be a fee just to breathe. A 'fresh breathing air' tax.

Glad you're back and congrats on the house! =)