Why should you have to pay to print your theatre tickets at home or to leave a mortgage that has ended? These are just some of the charges we think should be banned.
Many of you have in the past written to us on Which? Conversation with examples of such charges for ‘extras’ that we feel should be free or included in the headline price.
While these charges are perfectly legal, our view is clear. If you can’t escape paying a fee it should be included in the price. There are four we believe should be banned and five that seem excessive.
Ban these fees
Print at home fees for tickets you print yourself: Theatre and gig-goers typically have to pay a booking fee on top of the face value of the ticket and another to have the tickets sent to you.
But why on earth should you have to pay a fee (up to £2.50 in some cases) to use your own printer ink to print off tickets?
A ‘cessation charge‘: You pay this if you leave BT to switch to a company that has its own network (esentially Virgin Media) or to opt out of a BT broadband connection. You pay this even though you’re out of contract.
Exit fees: There are charges to set up a mortgage, but you can also get charged when you finish paying it off. Most lenders now call these ‘exit fees’.
Eric said on Which? Conversation he was expecting such a charge when his mortgage ends:
‘This, they say, is an admin charge to close the account. I feel I’ve paid them enough over 25 years.’
Letting agents’ admin fees: Charged to tenants on top of rent.
There are also charges that you can sidestep, if you know what to look for and are prepared to shop around – but they’re commonly imposed by many providers. Examples of these include:
Replacement insurance policy charges: Not all car and home insurers charge for this, but yours might.
Excess waiver insurance: Charged when you hire a car abroad, but far more expensive than standalone alternatives.
Airline seat advance reservation fees: Introduced by budget airlines, now very widespread. Avoidable if you take a gamble and book seats the moment the online check-in opens.
Tips invited by cruise ship companies which also add a service charge at the end of the cruise.
High cancellation charges: If you have to cancel a holiday booking.
Firms that slap on extra fees might hope you won’t notice, but it’s always a shock to find the actual cost is higher than it first appeared. In some cases, an add-on is justified (and perhaps not very expensive) but in others it seems an opportunistic liberty.
Let’s be clear. We think it’s great that in some areas fees are much clearer than they used to be – but that doesn’t mean it’s right they should be charged in the first place.
Have we caught the worst examples? Are there any new fees you’ve noticed, which weren’t charged until recently? Are there any you’ve successfully challenged?