You may be strict when it comes to your spending, but even the most budget-conscious of us can be caught out when it comes to hidden fees – in fact, research has revealed that Brits are collectively hit with £1.2bn worth of hidden fees every year, so make sure you're on your guard!
The figures, from Amigo Loans, reveal that a huge number of consumers are stung by additional charges, with everything from booking fees to unexpected service charges on restaurant bills taking their toll. Many of them are sprung on unsuspecting consumers at the last minute, and by that point they may be too committed to the purchase to cause a fuss – or in some cases, to even notice.
But just what hidden fees are costing you the most? Well, Amigo found that the fees charged by 0845 and 0870 telephone numbers have impacted the most people in the last year, with 30% of respondents being affected. Up next were all those sneaky charges for using your credit card to purchase products online (28%), followed by surprise booking fees when buying tickets (23%) and service charges at restaurants that aren't made clear on the bill (22%).
Others include luggage fees on flights and unexpected overdraft fees (both affecting 17% of respondents in the last 12 months), surcharges for opting for paper bank statements (10%), amendment fees on legal documents (3%) and free trial fees, with 10% of respondents failing to cancel their subscription before the free trial came to an end.
These costs can quickly add up: airlines can charge as much as £25 for hold luggage while restaurants can add 12.5% onto the bill, and banks can charge seemingly extortionate rates for overdrafts and paper statements. Then there are booking fees, which can sometimes add as much as 10% to the face value of your ticket. Combined over the year, all of this can easily take its toll on your finances, and you may not even notice.
"People encounter hidden fees all the time in everyday life, but just because we are used to them, it doesn't make them acceptable," said Glen Crawford of Amigo Loans. "People should be able to see exactly what they are paying upfront and should never get a sting in the tail from a sneaky fee thrown in at the last minute or weaved into the small print."
So just what can you do? Well, aside from always being on your guard so you know exactly what you're paying, we've compiled a few top tips to make those extra charges slightly less daunting:
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