Fleecer Of The Year Award

 New Award for Creative Fleecing

Travel and financial industries are at it again: They are inventing new Explanation=Justification defense tactics to cover fleecing of unwitting consumers. Other industries are taking notes.

Services, once included in general charges, are moved elsewhere in preparation for later consumer fleecing–but without reducing general charges. Examples: Once an amenity, a newspaper slipped under your hotel room door each morning becomes a hefty surcharge at checkout. Or making flight reservations on an airline’s website may land you in a lesser coach seat without a lesser charge. Seats may look alike on most airline computer websites, but coach seats vary in size and legroom. (Some turn out to be narrower than others without price adjustments.)

If discovered by angry consumers, Explanation=Justification is rolled out: “Sorry, that $10 newspaper delivery charge was printed on your sign-in sheet.” Or “We did not assign you that middle seat. Our computer system did it when you made your reservation. You were between the two Sumo wrestlers? Hope you got their autographs.”

Consumers can beat many fees: Question any strange charges when checking out. If that doesn’t work, on grounds of improper charges challenge the entire hotel bill when the total charge appears on the credit card statement. Airline fees are tougher to challenge, but some airlines will offer points to soothe an angry consumer.

To recognize advances in fleecing, I am adding a new award: The Fleecer of the Year Award for 2012. Criteria include discovery of a new fee, a clever camouflage, or a unique justification for the fleecing. If you are a 2012 fleece victim, send me details

Note: This post and the new award were inspired by Stephanie Rosenbloom’s excellent article Fleeced By Fees? in the New York Times Travel section for Sep 23.


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One Response to “Fleecer Of The Year Award”

  1. Joseph Ting October 15, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    e: Fleeced by fees when you travel by Stephanie Rosenbloom

    I agree that numerous fees aim to “nickel and dime” the traveller to generate additional income streams for airlines, resorts and hotels. However there could be an unintended benefit of several service fees. By charging for towels used, travellers are inclined to re-use them each day by hanging them up to dry on bathroom racks for the duration of their holiday. This reduces laundering and housekeeping costs. Charging for bottled water in the room fridge encourages travellers to bring their own durable water bottles to be re-filled with fresh or boiled tap water suitable for drinking. The time is ripe that the eco-conscious tourist be rewarded for their effort by not being charged these fees.
    Joseph Ting,