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Convenience fee

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In one of my previous blogs I had mentioned about getting a traffic ticket in Jersey Turnpike. Yesterday I finally found out the damage via a phone call to the court, and as the officer had claimed, it was $54. Okay, that's not too bad as tickets go these days, even though I still think it was a lame charge.

Being the curious guy that I am, I surfed to the court's web site to see if I can find a record of my ticket. Sure enough, the ticket and all relevant data were there for me and the dollar amount was the same as I was told over the phone. What next? Pay the ticket, of course.

A nice large button invited me to pay the ticket online. at least they are making it a more convenient to pay the fine, I thought to myself. That's when the near bait and switch happened. On the next page the amount suddenly gained an extra $2. I felt like a contestant in let's make a deal. On closer inspection I noticed a "convenience fee" line item for the amount of, yes, $2.

Convenience fee? Whose convenience? Isn't this more to their advantage by collecting the fines in a more timely manner, have accurate records of payments, and save on clerks. Then it occurred to me that this isn't a new scam. A couple of years ago, trying to pay a parking ticket online, I had noticed the same fee being tacked on.

Whoever came up with this brilliant scam must be pretty proud of themselves. Soon online retailers will catch on and begin charging convenience fees on shopping carts. Express checkouts at grocery stores, gas pumps that accept credit cards, and Chinese take-outs would soon follow. You'll get an extra bill from your phone company if you use a speaker phone, and remote controls would come with hefty convenience fees.

Thanks, but no thanks. I inconveniently wrote a check, licked the envelope, and sent the payment via the inconvenient US postal service.

,,,

2 Comments

  1. Only $7.20? A couple of days ago I bought a couple of premium Cirque tickets, and the convenience fee was $13 (US) per ticket. I sent them an email expressing my opinion of that (politely), and got a call back within a day. I wasn't around to receive the call, so they left a message. I was somewhat pleasantly surprised, and called them back to see what they had to say.

    The guy at Cirque politely informed me that the web convenience fee was for the convenience of ordering over the web. With this wonderful new gem of information in hand, I thanked him and hung up.

    The more I thought about it, the more disgusted I became at the thought of paying $26 for nothing...nothing but their convenience. So I called back and asked for a refund. Fortunately they were happy to give me one. I love Cirque d' Soleil and have been going for around 18 years. But I feel like the experience would have been tainted by my resentment over this ridiculous fee. Unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to go to Cirque anymore, which makes me sad.

    Comment by Anonymous — January 6, 2009 @6:31 pm

  2. Ditto for me. I was on line booking 3 tickets and upon checking out was dinged a THIRTY FIVE DOLLAR convenience fee. Last straw for me. I have never missed a show, seen every single one but I am finished. While they are at it they can keep their $10 hot dogs too.

    Comment by Anonymous — November 14, 2009 @4:17 pm

 

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