Hidden fees or extra fees for supply chain, for using a credit card, inflation, fuel, Covid-19 and other surprise charges: who’s affected?
(Photo Credit: Jasni/Shutterstock)
Have you ever been surprised when handed a receipt or sent an online confirmation that includes an add-on fee you were not expecting? Or worse, were you charged prices higher than those listed on menus or price tags?
Businesses are required to disclose true prices and fees during the shopping process. If you were deceived by a hidden fee, you may have the standing to claim legal action.
Consumers all across the country are calling out retailers and restaurants for quietly trying to pass along inflation and other expenses at the point of sale without fairly notifying them before they make their purchases. Sometimes, these take the form of add-on fees to disguise price increases. Other times, merchants or providers simply charge more at the point of sale than the prices listed on menus or price tags.
Whether charging more than listed prices, or add-on fees for supply chain issues, warehouse storage, for using credit cards, Covid-19 fees, facility fees or administrative fees, more and more companies — including restaurant chains such as Pizza Hut, Macaroni Grill other Buffalo Wild Wings — are trying to keep the appearance of low prices, but using back-door methods to extract more money from customers. It’s not just eatery doing this, either. Shervin Williamsfor example, has begun adding a “supply chain surcharge” of 4% to its paint, on top of the prices displayed in-store.
Businesses, along with all Americans, are dealing with inflation and rising costs, but failing to disclose these extra fees until the receipt is handed to the customer is misleading and may even be illegal.
Do You Qualify?
Have you been charged a fee on your receipt without being fairly notified of the charge before the purchase or service?
Extra charges or hidden fees may be found on receipts from:
- Restaurants, like Macaroni Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Pizza Hut
- Retail stores
- gas stations
- Event tickets, like Vivid Seats
- Painting or home improvement supplies, like Home Depot and Vista Paint
- Many more
If you felt deceived by an extra fee on your receipt, you may be eligible to join this class action lawsuit investigation.
Fill out the form on this page for more information.
Hidden fees hit consumers
Consumer advocates are sharing photos of their receipts on social media platforms such as TikTok, complaining about opaque strategies of charging customers fees while giving the appearance of lower prices. Some say it’s unethical or even illegal.
Businesses are creating fees to slip onto receipts to drive up revenue. In 2019, Consumer Reports launched a “What the Fee?!” campaign that triggered more than 3,000 Americans to share their frustrations with the growing number of fees on their bills. CR reported that at least 85 percent of Americans have encountered an unexpected or hidden fee over the previous two years. CR reported that 140,000 people signed a petition demanding cable providers eliminate add-on fees and advertise only the service’s total prices. The airline, banking and hotel industries also made billions of dollars from fees in 2018, CR noted.
Types of hidden fees
Consumers have been shouldering hidden fees on all fronts, it seems, from grocery stores and restaurants to goods and services.
Here are some examples:
- Pizza Hut is charging an 8.5% “service fee” on every order in California, according to The Los Angeles Times.
- A 3% kitchen appreciation fee was reported by the Boston Globe. Typically charged to provide a living wage to kitchen staff, Rafi Mohammed, writing for the Harvard Business Review, called the practice of hidden fees “bait and surcharge pricing.” “To avoid infringing on servers, restaurants make it clear that this line item charge is not the tip,” Mohammed notes. “This is a sketchy practice. I’m all in favor of paying the kitchen staff living wages, but restaurants should muster the courage to be transparent and simply raise their menu prices.”
- In Oregon, a customer filed a lawsuit after Safeway charged an undisclosed fee on wine. “A store is free to charge any surcharge or additional charge they want on top of an advertised price, so long as they disclose that on the shelf,” the plaintiff’s attorney told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Safeway is ripping off thousands of customers by advertising one price on the shelf and then charging another higher price at the register.”
- It’s also a common practice for ticket sellers to tack on surprise fees for concerts.
- One of the more common fees to add to receipts is related to credit card transactions, often called swipe fees. Processing companies apply a percentage fee to process credit card transactions, and sometimes businesses pass that along to customers as a separate fee. That’s OK as long as it’s made clear to the customer during the shopping process.
Join a Hidden Fee Lawsuit Investigation
Businesses must notify consumers of fees throughout the shopping process so that the fee is not a surprise. Hidden fees may include:
- Credit card processing or swipe fees
- Fuel fees
- service fees
- Administrative fees
- Covid-19 fees
- inflation fees
If you have been misled or deceived by hidden fees, you may be entitled to compensation.
Fill out the form on this page for a FREE case evaluation.