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Kiplinger July 2008

How to Fight Sneaky Fees

We're always looking for ways to keep money in our pockets, and Kiplinger's July 2008 issue has some suggestions about how to stop companies from nickel-and-diming you. Just last year Americans paid $30 billion in credit-card fees, so it's safe to say that most of us have been saddled with some of these sneaky fees. Here are Kiplinger's tips on how to fight them.

  • Call during business hours. Few managers are available on weekends, and you won't get the cream of the crop among lower-level representatives. At, you can find codes that let you circumvent company phone trees.
  • Do your research and flex your muscle. Tabulate how much money you've spent with the company, which can boost your bargaining power. If you think you've been treated unfairly, don't hesitate to say you're considering a letter to the state attorney general.
  • Don't waste your time. A $2 fee may get your goat, but you can't afford to fight every charge. Your chances of winning are directly correlated to how much leverage you have. With financial services, such as banking and credit, "consumers ultimately hold all the power because they can vote with their feet," says Greg McBride, of In fact, a survey for Sullivan's book found that customers who complain to credit-card companies get results 65 percent of the time.
Join The Conversation
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I hate the fees. Most of them are totally unwarranted.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I have also never gotten a cc fee. MindayH - really 3/4 of the charges ---they want money regardless.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
I haven't gotten a CC fee before - but I have from Washington Mutual for .50cents each time I used another companies ATM - even though when I signed up I was told there were no fees. The cs rep told me that I must not have gotten the mailing that was sent out. Then the manager reversed 3/4 of the charges.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I have never had a CC fee and don't understand how to get one without doing something absurd.
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