Taking a look at the charges on your monthly bills can often reveal not just errors, but ongoing costs that you might not be aware of. Here are 6 sneaky charges to watch for:
- Check your cable bill for a modem fee, Modems used to be included in the service, but in this day of add-on fees, companies are charging monthly for the modem. Since the charge is typically $5 to $8 a month, it is usually less expensive to buy your own modem and not rent theirs. Here’s a modem you can buy for $80.
- Watch out for service call fees. If you have problems, the service provider may gladly come to your home to fix the issue, but it will typically be at your expense, regardless of whether the problem is the company’s fault. If it is their fault, ask for the service fee to be waived.
- Fees for paper statements. In an effort to get customers to receive bills by email, some companies how charge a fee to send you a paper statement–sometimes as much as $2 to $3 a month.
- Watch out for “gray charges,” like auto-renewal and memberships fees that continually show up on your credit card bills even though you canceled the services. You may also find phantom charges that occur when a simple online purchase results in ongoing monthly payments or a charge for a product you never requested.
- Look for billing errors and transactions you don’t recognize.
- Telephone bills are also a place where bogus charges may show up. Read them carefully. As hard as it may be to believe, there are companies that still charge monthly rental fees for a phone you could buy for $10.
It you find charges and fees for things you don’t use, ask nicely but firmly, and they will usually remove the fees. If not, you can always drop the service and take your business elsewhere.