News / USA

Hidden Charges Inflate Price Tag

Shrouding conceals real cost of purchase

The ticket clerk is smiling.  We don’t see the customer’s face.
The ticket clerk is smiling. We don’t see the customer’s face.

Multimedia

Audio
Ted Landphair

A while back, a friend of ours took his son to a professional basketball game. He walked up to an arena window and purchased two tickets for $40 apiece. But his credit card was NOT charged $80.

The clerk assessed an additional $3 "service charge" per ticket. This prompted our friend to ask a logical question:

"I came and got the tickets. So what ‘service’ did the team provide? Doesn’t the ticket cost cover the ‘service’ of printing it and selling me two seats?"

The answer is no, it doesn’t. And guess what? The add-on charge would have applied, even if he had paid cash.

This practice of piling on mysterious extra charges is mushrooming. Another friend bought three baseball tickets. They were cheap compared to basketball - just $15 apiece.

But listen to the add-ons:

Great seats! They cost a pretty penny, and probably additional ones for “convenience charges” and other fees.
Great seats! They cost a pretty penny, and probably additional ones for “convenience charges” and other fees.

A $4 "convenience fee," whatever that is, on EACH ticket. A $3.50 "processing charge" on the total order. And another $1.75 because our friend bought and printed his tickets online. That’s almost $18 extra - a 60-percent markup!

Heaping on charges is called "shrouding." You shroud, or conceal, the REAL costs of goods and services until it comes time to pay the bill. As the New York Times reported, shrouding is common at places like restaurants, where sparkling water poured at your table can significantly boost your bill; rental-car counters and auto dealers, where there’s a litany of extras and warranties and insurance fees that show up only in fine print; and on airplane reservations, where extra booking and baggage fees are legendary.

So if you’re thinking of attending a U.S. sporting event, bring money - not just for tickets, food, and drinks, but also for all manner of "convenience charges" that are especially "convenient" to the team’s bank account.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid