Junk Fees a Billion Dollar Business

How many times in good faith do we meet with representatives of telecom, data, or cable companies and negotiate arrangements then set budgets based on what we have been told only to find when invoiced the total costs to be completely different. Then the famous annoying statement when you question the billing department representative and told “I am sorry sir that is the cost of doing business with us.”

Readers Digest’s Max Alexander in an article called “Don’t Pay These Hidden Fees” tells a great story about when he was a kid and went to the County fair. He paid $3 to see the Alligator Lady “Half reptile and half women”, the promoter barked. He was hooked only to find he was placed in a dark room and was demanded an additional 50 cents then told what do you think electric is free. He paid it. When the lights turned on a woman in a bathing suit with a bad case of eczema was sitting in a chair. He felt how could I be such a sucker?

Voxomate’s article in Managing Telecom Expenses tells a story about a writer who remembers the first time that they went on a cruise. They expected to be kicking back, eating all the food they could stuff into their mouths, having a few laughs and stopping off on a bunch of ideal little islands, all for one inclusive price.

It did not take long for their rage glands to jump into overdrive when they discovered the cruise line was charging them a daily parking fee at the port, a fuel surcharge (to assist in fueling the ship), a “Staff and Housekeeping Service Fee” as well as “Government Tax and Other Fees.” When the dust cleared, forty-six percent of their final invoice expenditures had gone to unadvertised, miscellaneous junk fees.

It is likely your invoices for telecom, data, and cable are not much different. The article goes on to mention that Junk Fees are creating lawsuits. Lawsuits over misrepresentation of what fees actually pay for, the article also mentions a broadband provider is being sued by customers who claim they are being invoiced for certain state and federal taxes, 911 surcharges even though they do not apply to broadband services. “It is merely a junk fee that the carrier imposes on customers,” the lawsuit says. “The fee bears no relationship to any government imposed fees or regulations and is nothing other than an effort by them to increase prices above their advertised prices.” TheBillPolice.com reported that 300 million customers collectively pay $155 billion in fees in addition to their standard voice and data plan costs.

They mentioned that taking on multi-billion dollar companies to dispute junk fees without an expert in your corner usually isn’t the most productive use of your time. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Because over-billing and junk fees have become so commonplace, there have been many companies springing up in the last few decades that specialize in invoice and contract auditing. You do have recourse. The FCC has complaint services for submitting complaints, and there are ways for recovery of these charges. You owe it to your business to seek professionals to assist you on how to best return these hard earn dollars back to your organization.

(This article was written by Henry Garcia, Chief Executive Officer of DP Access (www.dpaccess.com) a provider of technology services. For more information, he can be reached at email: henry.j.garcia@dpaccess.com. He has over 30 years of experience working in the technology industries with worldwide organizations such as Western Union, General Dynamics, Sprint, GE, AT&T, XO, and Comcast. He has earned a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Advanced Networking* from University of Phoenix and graduated with honors.)