Published On: Dec 06 2011 01:36:36 PM ESTUpdated On: Aug 21 2014 02:00:00 AM EDT
You know you're overpaying for all sorts of things. Forbes magazine shows you just how much, listing the top 20 ways consumers are getting ripped off.
Airline Club Memberships -- Look for airline credit card offers that earn airline miles and include club memberships rather than simply the club memberships alone, which can cost more than $500.
Banking Fees -- Hunt for a no-frills online bank that doesn't have to maintain hundreds or even thousands of branches to avoid rising checking account and ATM fees.
Bridal Gowns -- Alterations often add at least $200 to the already-marked up price bridal boutiques slap on their gowns.
Broadband Speeds -- A report last summer from the Federal Communication Commission found that 80% of broadband users fall into usage categories that would require at most 4 Mbps, so chances are you pay for broadband you don't use.
Cable TV -- All you want is basic cable, but your cable company wants you to have so much more -- and pay dearly for it. Try hulu.com or Netflix instead.
Caskets -- Upscale boxes, purchased by emotional families through funeral homes, can go for $20,000--a mark-up of up to four times cost. Plan ahead and buy direct.
Inefficient Charities -- Check out how much of a charity's total expenses go directly to the charitable purpose as opposed to management, overhead and fundraising to make sure you're donating money smartly.
Credit Reports -- Credit reporting bureaus like Equifax, Experian and TransUnion charge about $180 annually to track credit reports. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to obtain a free report every four months.
Prepackaged Deli Meat -- Plenty of supermarkets offer presliced, prepackaged deli meats at a 43 percent markup over the meat offered at their own deli counter.
Extra Frequent Flier Miles -- Airlines routinely claim to be sold out of tickets that require fewer frequent flier miles, only to then sell you more miles to make up the difference. Experts call such programs "come-ons for consumers."
Credit Card Gift Cards -- American Express charges $3.95 for its cards, whether you're buying a $25 card or a $3,000 one. Visa charges $3.50 for cards purchased at bank branches and tacks on a $2.50 monthly fee after the first 12 months following the purchase date.
Graduation Caps/Gowns -- Caps and gowns bought through your university's bookstore can run up to $100. Expect to pay even more for a last-minute purchase.
Face Cleaners -- Just because a product includes exotic ingredients doesn't mean it's worth the plump price tag. Doctors recommend sticking to the basics like Cetaphil, which costs just $11.49.
Auto-Dealer Repair Services -- Your car dealer has a firm handshake, but that won't ease the sting of the bill he sends for your 30,000-mile tune-up. Try a local auto repair shop instead.
Many Mutual Funds -- Thousands of actively managed mutual funds charge fees of 1% or higher, costing consumers hundreds of thousands each year.
Car Rentals -- City-dwellers willing to head 10 to 15 miles out of town can end up paying less than half the price per day.
Reproductive Testing -- It's tempting to screen for diseases that wannabe parents might pass along to their offspring. But doctors are known to gin up irrelevant tests to pocket a kickback from the testing facility.
College Textbooks -- Between 1995 and 2004, textbook prices rose at more than four times the rate of inflation. Sites like ecampus.com and alibris.com offer better deals than campus bookstores.
Travel-Size Products -- A 3.2 ounce, TSA-compliant bottle of Listerine mouthwash retails for $1.99 at CVS, while a 16.8 ounce container costs $4.99. That means you're paying 62 cents an ounce for the travel-size bottle.
Electronics Warranties -- Warranties cover everything from technical problems to spilling beer into the keyboard. They also empty your wallet in a hurry. Third-party warranty providers often offer better coverage for a lot less.
An attorney who successfully challenged the city of Hollywood's red-light camera ticket policy has some advice for drivers in Fort Lauderdale, where police say they will continue issuing tickets despite a recent court ruling.