Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Watch out for hidden fees on website purchases

A few weeks ago, I was given a rude reminder to always be on the lookout for hidden fees, especially when making online purchases. This reminder came in the form of a monthly technical support charge that is automatically added to your bill unless you purposely opt out of it at the time of purchase.

I was on a software website to buy and download one piece of software. I went through the entire shopping cart experience and came to the final confirmation/submit page. I quickly scanned the page for the purchase information and final bill total. Everything appeared to be correct, and then it happened. As I moved the mouse to the submit button and clicked on it, right below it I saw a small box with a check mark in it. My first reaction was that they purposely opted me in to their email database which has happened to me on other websites. But then I started to read the fine print of what I was automatically subscribed to and I knew that I just screwed up by moving too quickly on my purchase. I had been forcibly subscribed to a monthly technical support charge of $9.88. Before the submit page fully loaded, I tried opting out, but it was too late. As soon as the transaction took place, I should have immediately called the company to remove that fee, but I waited instead to see if that charge would happen.

Sure enough, as I was reviewing my bank account transactions last week, I saw this fee charged to my account for the month of March. This time, I did not hesitate. I immediately called the company and cancelled this monthly service fee. I had felt violated for being forced into an upsell purchase that I didn't want. Seth Godin would definitely give this company a verbal spanking for bad business marketing practices.

So, I learned a $10.00 lesson last week: always, always, always, read and reread the final confirmation/submission page for online purchases. You never know what you are agreeing to if you hurriedly just hit the submit button.

Have you ever been duped into an upsell online or in store purchase like I was? If so, I would love to hear about your experience.


  1. That happened to me once long ago, only it was on an almost maxed credit card. The additional fee that I was unaware sent me over my limit and into a tough credit battle of fees for fees for fees. I believe thats when I decided to get rid of my debt and make some smarter decisions.

    I guess I too had to learn the hard way! Great article!