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Hidden Fees Could Be Costing You Thousands of Dollars. Here's How To Protect Yourself

•, By Dagny Taggar

Hidden fees are now so common that if you haven't been slapped with one yet, you are in the minority.

Just over a year ago, Consumer Reports launched an ongoing campaign called What the Fee?! and the information they have gathered since launching the program is eye-opening. The nonprofit organization conducted a survey and found that at least 85 percent of Americans have encountered an unexpected or hidden fee over the past two years for a service they had used. And, two-thirds of the 2,000 surveyed said they are paying more now in surprise charges than they did five years ago.

Since CR launched their campaign, they have heard from "roughly 3,480 Americans" who are "angry about the growing number of fees showing up on their bills." Here's an excerpt from a recent report on their survey:

There's the West Chester, Pa., woman irate over the $25 broadcast and sports fees she pays every month though she never watches sports—and about the $150 cancellation fee when she quit her provider.

Or the traveler in Texas who found that every time he went through a highway toll, the car-rental company dinged him $15 on top of the toll price, leading to an extra $90 in "administrative fees." "They will charge $15 to process even a 31 cent toll charge," he says. "Completely ridiculous!"

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