I Hate Paying Fees

It may be selective memory, but I don’t remember having to pay any kind of fees in my younger days.  Now it seems that no matter what you buy, there’s a fee attached.  I will do anything possible to get out of paying fees – or at least minimize them.

I hate bank fees

My bank already has the use of all my money so I don’t see why I also have to pay them for this privilege.  I used to go ballistic when my son (who I won’t name – but his alias begins with “E”) used to withdraw money almost daily from a non-bank machine (we used to call them white machines – because they were white).  He’d say “Oh Mom.  It’s only a couple of bucks.  What’s the big deal?”  Well, to me, it is a big deal.

I was recently browsing through a copy of Consumer Reports and noticed that TD Bank has branches in the United States and their basic chequing account has no fees and no minimum balance.  Why are they charging Canadians for the same thing?

I hate credit card fees

Credit cards now offer an array of features – insurance, cash back, air miles, etc. – that have to be paid for.  Don’t you think that 19% interest on your purchases is payment enough?  And most people don’t take enough advantage of the features to make it worthwhile anyway.

Those that pay off their entire balance each month don’t get away scot-free.  Retailers pay a percentage of your credit card purchase and increase the price of your goods to make up for it.

I hate service fees

My utility bill (electricity and water) is four pages long.  Besides the basic charges, there are 9 separate fees listed and I don’t even know what they are!  What is a service fee anyway?  Aren’t I paying for a service in the first place?

I hate administration fees

When I put all my bills on epost I naively thought I might get a reduction in administration fees.  After all, they no longer have to use paper, ink, an envelope and postage.  Unfortunately for me I’m just increasing their profits by reducing their operating costs.

When we purchased our vehicle, one of the charges was for administration.  When I asked what it was for, I was told it was for processing the paperwork.  The paperwork is called an invoice and it’s a cost of doing business.  No! No! No!

Some mortgage brokers, especially for second mortgage type loans, charge some of the worst administration fees.  Brokerage fees, lender administration fees and applications fees can run into the thousands of dollars and are added on to your loan.  Go to a bank instead.

I hate delivery fees

I always negotiate to get this fee waived.  If I’ve spent a few thousand dollars on new furniture, the least they can do is bring it to me.  Ikea has to be one of the worst, as they charge per size and weight.  You know how heavy those slabs of MDF are.  Your VOLMAR cabinet is going to end up costing twice as much.  On the other hand, Staples delivered a filing cabinet to me free of charge.

I hate set-up fees

Stores have no business trying to sell me an entertainment system that I can’t figure out how to plug in.  Likewise, back to Ikea, if you can’t put your cabinet together yourself, you have no business shopping there.

I say it’s time to put a stop to all of these fees.

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  1. Ellen on February 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I’m with you! The amount of fees out there are ridiculous. One of my biggest peeves is the “pay to print your ticket at home” fee. I am using my printer and ink – and I have to pay you for the privilege?!

  2. Melissa on February 7, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I totally agree! I feel like every place is nickle and diming us to death!

    I don’t really mind paying installation fees, though, if given the choice. I hate it when it’s automatic (what if I WANT to set it up myself), but honestly, a smallish fee for someone to put together my Ikea furniture for me? I’d pay that. I hate those things!

  3. Pat on February 7, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Mortgage Brokers charge a fee because that’s how they get paid! Most of the people looking for second mortgages have been refused by the bank so they use a Broker’s services. No one works for free.

    • Boomer on February 7, 2012 at 11:13 am

      @Pat: I know that’s how you get paid and I get the “brokerage fee” but what’s the lender administration fee and application fee? I have an actual Statement of Disclosure that someone gave me and it lists these fees in Other Charges for a total of $5700 on a loan of $45,000. That’s sure not working for free.

  4. My Own Advisor on February 7, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I hear ya, nice rant 🙂


  5. Francoise Vulpe on February 7, 2012 at 9:17 am

    One thing you do NOT have to pay is the admin fee on buying a car, and whatever you do don’t pay for the paint colour! Or installation fees for any add-ons. All of these things are negotiable and you need to insist or walk out the door. And on this topic, never buy a car without knowing the dealer invoice price and all dealer and purchaser incentives. Go to http://www.carcostcanada.com. It will save you hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars.

    • Boomer on February 7, 2012 at 11:19 am

      @Francoise: I just about had a fit when the salesman started listing all the charges – tire care, air tax, amvic levy (I don’t know what that is) security package (this is for the tires so they can’t be stolen) etc. and why isn’t the block heater included on cars sold in Canada – the prairies anyway. I thought he was going to throw us out when I kept saying “stike that off!”:)

  6. PK on February 7, 2012 at 10:03 am

    “Those that pay off their entire balance each month don’t get away scot-free.” – in the states, most retailers who accept credit cards have to price goods and services the same as cash purchases (with notable exceptions, like gas stations). So, the credit card user may be paying for the convenience of the credit card in the item inflation, but cash customers are also subsidizing it some small amount!

    • Boomer on February 7, 2012 at 11:23 am

      @PK: Credit card charges (a percentage of the sale price) are built into the price just like every other expense the retailer has, so everyone pays. I’ve always wondered why retailers put up with it. They pay for the equipment, a monthly fee and I would understand a small fee per transaction (like debit cards) but not a percentage.

      The credit card companies are raking in the money on both sides.

      • Beth on February 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm

        Having worked for a few retailers, I know that a lot of people wouldn’t shop at a store at all if said store didn’t take credit cards. They’d just go to the competitors.

        What makes me mad is retailers like the Bay who only offer their best discounts and return/exchange policies when you use their credit card. I hate feeling like I’m subsidizing other people’s better deals!

        • Boomer on February 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

          @Beth: The reason stores like you to use their own credit cards is because they don’t have to pay any commissions like they do with Visa or MasterCard. So, with their discounts they are actually passing the savings on to you.

          • Beth on February 9, 2012 at 11:16 am

            Hmmm. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I can’t see how that argument works. When the store offers an extra 10% off for using their credit card, they’re only saving the 2-3% they would have to pay if I used another credit card. What about the remaining 7-8%? If the store is still losing money in the deal, how is it passing along savings to customers?

            And if saving the commission was such an issue, why not also reward people who pay with cash or debit? Most stores don’t — even small businesses who aren’t able to absorb credit card costs the way major retailers can.

            I’m confused 😉

  7. Money Beagle on February 7, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I’m with you. All of the ones you listed are bad, and I also consider paying for parking a fee. Think about it, someone lays down a strip of concrete and you pay $10 every time you park there for the privilege. I’ve actually wanted to go to a couple of Pistons games this year but have been so annoyed that I would have to pay $10 extra for parking that I haven’t gone.

    • Boomer on February 7, 2012 at 11:08 am

      @Money Beagle: I hear you. Our zoo recently instituted a parking fee. With the cost of admission now $20 per person I refuse to pay for parking too, so I don’t go anymore.

  8. Marianne on February 7, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I agree that all these fees are ridiculous but am not sure what we can do about it. Does anyone have any ideas? I do try to support businesses such as ING and PC Financial that don’t charge fees and I am very appreciative to them.

    • Boomer on February 8, 2012 at 10:15 am

      @Marianne: You can negotiate to have some waived like krantcents says but some – like on utility bills – you just have to live with. Sadly, in my experience a lot of people don’t even look to see what they’re paying. When I worked in banking, one of my jobs was to deal with overdrafts. The list was huge when the statements were printed because they included service charges and OD fees. Some were paying as much as $50 to $100 or even more!
      At the time we had a $5 plan which gave unlimited withdrawals. I used to phone the customers and offer them the plan. Of course, they said yes. I doubt that anyone phones anymore.

  9. krantcents on February 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    A lot of these fees are negotiable and you can find reasons for the bank or store to waive them. As far as the others, customers should vote with their feet.

  10. American Debt Project on February 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Fees are tricky. Krantcents is right, you can get some of them waived, but some just won’t budge. I try not to pay any fees in addition to the ghastly amount of interest I’m paying each month. I was about to deposit a check with my iPhone the other day when I saw that it costs $0.50 to deposit each check! Sneaky!

  11. Country Girl on February 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    I hate fees as well. The phrase ‘and there’s an additional fee for…’ always gets my dander up. The fee I hate the most though is the delivery fee on my hydro bill that doubles the bill. ARGH! Seriously, how can a delivery fee be that much when I can see the plant?!

  12. John @ Curious Cat Investing Blog on February 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I agree. Most fees just seem to be a way for companies to advertise a false rate for what the real costs of using their service are. I must say the silly games utilities play don’t bother me. Ok, they want to make the bill confusing and not be honest and straight forward with the costs. It is silly and dumb but the bottom line is there is a monthly cost and really I find the bottom line reasonable. That they seem to have managers that believe wasting money confusing people is wise shows they have some foolish managers. But compared to the other examples it is much less annoying to me.

  13. SE Book on February 9, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I am with you on this one, I hate how all these fees get tacked onto things, why can’t they give you a flat rate how hard could that possible be.

  14. Thrifty Bird on February 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    We purchased two nearly identical cars (same model, same features, same year) at two different dealerships in the same city. One had no “administration fee” and the other did. The salesman waived the fee, but we suspect it was an hypothetical fee if it could be applied to one and not the other.

  15. Lickety on December 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I got rid of retail cards a long time ago. I use one credit card now and I reject all offers of increases on the card because that affects my credit rating. I got my mortgage through Mortgage Intelligence and didn’t pay a cent. The broker is paid by the company willing to provide me a mortgage.
    I also keep my bank balance above the minimum so I don’t get dinged with service fees.
    What disgusts me is learning our own financial institutions are willing to rape our accounts but not accounts in foreign countries. It is our money that allows them to invest abroad in the first place. Where would they be if like in “It’s A Wonderful Life” the customers chose to remove all their money?

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