money drainSticker prices aren’t always what they seem. Too often consumers end up paying more than the face value of items due to hidden costs.

Here are some pesky fees that deserve extra scrutiny: 

Telecommunications fees.

These extra fees won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has tried to decipher a telephone bill. They include monthly access fees, upgrade fees, overage fees and more. The Consumer Federation of America recently published a report that contends that consumers are being overcharged an average of 25%.

When purchasing a new telephone contract with a wireless carrier be sure you completely understand these ancillary charges. Even though it’s tedious, take time to read the fine print. In addition, review your monthly bill and look for fees that don’t look right.

New car fees.

You think you’ve negotiated a final price for a vehicle, but when you see the contract it has extra costs added on for such things as documentation fees, dealership preparation fees and destination fees.

Before visiting any dealership, do your research on the Edmund’s car buying site to find out which states regulate car fees and what the average fees are in your state if they aren’t regulated. When negotiating with a dealer, make sure the relevant fees are included.

Student fees.

While college tuition prices have continued to increase well beyond the inflation rate, schools have also been quietly tacking on lots of additional fees to the tab. Universities have added fees to cover such things as counseling, technology use, advising, athletic costs and student activities.                                                                                         

Ask colleges about any required expenses beyond tuition and room and board. Use each school’s net price calculator to obtain a personalized estimate of the cost for your student to attend that particular college.  

Resort fees.

Booking a hotel in a popular tourist area, such as Las Vegas or Hawaii, may cause you to get hit with a resort fee. This fee can add anywhere from $25 to $50 a night to your tab. It frequently includes things like a complimentary beverage, use of the hotel gym, pool towels, Wi-Fi and bottled water.

Some hotels will not budge on the resort fee, but others may waive it at your request. You could argue that you aren’t going to use the amenities, or the Wi-Fi is slow, or other things aren’t to your liking.

Bottom line:

When making purchases where extra costs are a possibility, shop carefully. Make sure you ask about additional fees and consider these add-on expenses when comparing your options. 

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