If Other Businesses Billed The Way Telcos Bill
from the fees,-huh? dept
The fact that telcos like to add in all sorts of official-looking (but certainly not official by law) “fees” as a way of increasing revenue while still being able to claim lower service rates in their advertising is nothing new at all. However, with Broadband Reports pointing out AT&T’s latest “local connectivity charge,” which appears to be a totally made up fee that allows them to raise rates up to $4 a month without actually saying they’re raising rates, we’re reminded of a past discussion on this topic. The problem isn’t that these companies need to recover their costs, but that they do so in such a sneaky way. Every company selling stuff hopes to cover their costs, but they usually bake those costs into the price they advertise, rather than tacking on the fees. As we noted a few years ago, imagine how a pizza would be priced, if using the same system: “It’s just $3, but there’s a $3.50 “crust fee,” a $9.38 “oven fee,” a $4.50 “service fee,” and a $2.18 “cleanup fee.” Plus tax.” Of course, we didn’t bother to mention that all of those extra fees are hidden in the fine print and you don’t find out about them until it’s too late and you can’t change your mind.
So why not expand this to other industries as well? Want that pair of jeans? Only $10. However, once you’ve given your credit card to the person at the counter you discover there’s also a $1.36 “zipper fee,” a $2.25 “hanging fee,” a $4.89 “service fee” and the always popular “inventory cost recovery fee” of $7.26. Plus tax. Magazine subscriptions? Well, it’s $25 for a year-long subscription, but don’t be surprised when you get the bill for the $4.33 “paper price adjustment” along with the $6.26 “postal service delivery charge.” Maybe someone can start breaking down the fees to make sure they include all related parts. That chair? Why it’s only $35, plus $20 for the parts, $45 for the labor and another $15 for the profit. Won’t that be fun? Any other ideas on how others might try to use such a system? I won’t even bother to guess how the entertainment industry would take advantage of this.