What Were They Thinking? 4 Stupid Fee Names
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- We're not crazy about fees . Airlines have made billions by charging fees to consumers for checking (and in some cases, carrying on ) bags, while banks have tried desperately to recoup money lost to new regulations by charging checking account customers fees to use their own money. But what can be even more galling is the names they come up with to sell these fees to customers. Here are a few that we can't stand.
"The Unintended Consequences Fee"
Hey, tell us how you really feel, Spirit Airlines. The carrier tacked this $2 fee onto its tickets in response to a new rule by the Department of Transportation mandating that airlines allow customers to get a full refund on their tickets within 24 hours of purchase.
|Fees are bad enough on their own, but their names can make them even more frustrating.|
"While this may appear to be a consumer-friendly rule at first, the USDOT has ignored the cost impact to consumers," Spirit said at the time . "As the transparency leader, Spirit believes that consumers have a right to know that this misguided regulation is expensive and is hitting consumers directly in their pocketbooks."
Spirit is correct that regulations do indeed have unintended consequences, and that giving consumers the ability to get a full refund will indeed lead to seats not being filled, which in turn hurts the airline's bottom line. But Spirit's claim that the rule is bad for consumers seems to rely on the notion that anything bad for the airline is in turn bad for the consumer. It feels like Spirit -- which is notorious for charging fees on everything from carry-on bags to not paying your baggage fee early -- is assessing this fee just to make a point.
"Gift Ticket Fee"
What, exactly, is a "gift ticket"? Does it come in a special envelope tied with a bow? Is it delivered by an owl?
Those are a couple of the questions we asked when we heard that Greyhound was charging an $18 "gift ticket" fee . If the company is charging that much and calling it a "gift," there must be some great perks in the offing for the recipient. But it turns out that all you get in exchange for paying this fee is the ability to use your credit card to buy a bus ticket for someone else and have them pick it up at the will-call window.
Should picking up at will-call cost a bit extra? Doesn't the company already need an employee running the ticket window? And while the company further explains that it covers the cost of fraud prevention services, it's never been able to explain how it actually applies the fee to fraud prevention or show its methods are successful.