Protect yourself from hidden fees

You never want to pay more for something than the advertised price. But these days, that’s exactly what’s happening to consumers when they buy something with an added fee. Fees across a wide range of industries are siphoning billions of dollars out of Americans’ wallets each year. Consumer Reports tells you how to spot, negotiate, and avoid extra fees altogether.

Companies are doing everything they can to make their prices appear lower to bring consumers in the door. The problem is that they have to increase the price somewhere along the way, and they do it by hiding fees in the final price.

A Consumer Reports survey of more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. shows at least 85 percent of Americans say they’ve encountered an unexpected or hidden fee over the past two years.

As for who’s most likely to charge consumers hidden fees, Consumer Reports' survey finds that telecommunication providers, live entertainment or sporting events, and gas and electric utility companies top the list.

It’s important to check your bills regularly to make sure there are no fees you didn’t know about. And ask companies a lot of questions before you pay them.

Consumer Reports says StubHub offers a feature that lets you set your search for tickets so that fees are included in the price, which will help budgeting and avoid any surprises.

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