A Reporter's Notebook
Your inside scoop to the South Florida Jewish community

Over a barrel

When Congress recently passed laws regulating bank and credit card charges passed on to its customers, my first reaction was … Yippee!  It’s about time someone’s finally looking out for us.  However, I should have known better. I should have known that banks and credit card companies are way smarter than our esteemed representatives, and that the ‘money lenders’ would find a way around those laws to continue raiding our pocketbooks.

And they did!  In case you haven’t heard, Bank of America, the largest bank in the nation (didn’t we ‘bail’ them out not too long ago?) is tacking a $5 service charge onto your bank account each month if you use your debit card – even once – during the statement period!!!! 

Following in Bank of America’s footsteps is Wells Fargo, who will charge $3 for using your debit card.  All the other banks won’t be far behind.

That’s $60 a year I could make better use of – like an extra fill-up for my gas in tank to make up for the ‘highway robbery’ at the pumps.  It’s also a nice meal for two, or three, at a cheap restaurant (all I frequent these days) – or $60 more I could have deposited in a savings account for ‘that rainy day’ (which could be closer than I think).
So, folks, they have us over a barrel.  Either way, we just can’t win.

And what about all those ‘extra’ charges on our electric bill?  According to my monthly bill, half the total amount is for “fuel only”!  What’s the other half for?  Administration costs?  Paper to print your bill? Postage to send your bill?  Or maybe it’s to finance the CEO’s Christmas bonus???

And, please, will someone explain how the telephone company gets away with all those little ‘extra’ charges on our monthly bill that, in my case, add up to nearly $40 a month.

I just don’t get it. I have a basic ‘flip’ phone. Nothing fancy – but it gets the job done. But my college-age son sports an iPhone – with all the ‘extras.’  Both phones are on my one account (since I pay the bill!) but MY phone number, which used to be the main account number, is now relegated to second-rate, ‘add-a-line’ status!  Apparently, SMART phone users are ‘preferred customers’ at the phone company.

Anyway, all those little ‘extra’ charges, like ‘hook-up charges,’ ‘connection charges,’ city, state and federal taxes,’ 9-11 access – and ‘servicing the space satellite,’ for all I know, are DOUBLED BILLED on my monthly statement. How do they get away with charging me twice!

The point is – who’s looking out for us?  Is ‘moaning and groaning’ about being fleeced by providers of commodities and services we depend on all we can really do?

I’m just about fed up enough to shoulder a placard, and join any protest in favor of “Consumer’s Civil Rights.”

10 Responses to “Over a barrel”

  1. brian mc donald says:

    I’m sure the entire country would agree with your blog, if they can’t see it, there is something wrong with them, I called the phone company (as well as many others) and I just get the run around, as for the telephone company, the said “Don’t blame us, it was Al Gore’s fault, he was the tie breaker when they upped one of their ridiculous additions” we are heading for major trouble

  2. Carol says:

    You’re right on the mark, Shani. We’re being nickled and dimed to death! There’s no limit to corporate greed with all of the hidden charges and add-ons. The banks make a fee from the merchants from debit card use, so now they’re sticking the consumer too. What chutzpah!

  3. Jay from Wellington says:

    Well, what did you expect living in the Corporate States of America? It’s a place where the ruling bodies, e.g. the banks, ATT, and the rest have bought off the regulators and report only to their owners on Wall Street. As the robber barons used to say, “The public be damned!”

    The only way to get out of this situation is to revert to what America was pre-Reagan. And the only way to do that is to release our lawmakers from their serf-like allegiance to their corporate masters. That requires getting the money out of politics by banning political contributions of any kind to anyone, replacing the current corrupt system with federal financing of elections.

    And how do we get that to happen? Start with heading for the streets and making such a fuss the corporate-owned and run media can’t ignore it. That’s started with the Occupy Wall Street movement now proliferating across the country.
    Let’s hope it grows, and let’s help it to do so.

  4. brian mc donald says:

    The occupy wall street protesters and all the other goofy protesters are a bunch of disorganized clowns, they don’t even know why they are protesting, and to get up on a policemans car and defocate is absolutely disgusting, and there was no license issued by bloomberg, as all people that are organizing an event nust get permission from the fire department and quite a few other local departments, the filth they leave behind is sickening and the media and nancy pelosi just love them, what the he== is happening in America? Protesting is Great and we certainly have that right to Peacefully Protest, But are they Peaceful

  5. brian mc donald says:

    They are neither peaceful nor organized, just a bunch of loud mouth no nothings, and the person that owns the protesting site is very friendly with Bloomberg and the Obama Administration, maybe that is why they escaped licensing, do you think. Come on America, Wake UP, we are being invaded by another force that has these occupiers brain washed

  6. Jay from Wellington says:

    The Occupiers are providing a valuable service by raising issues of inequality and injustice that are just killing this country.

    You may not like their demeanor, but unfortunately that’s what’s needed to get the attention of our conflict-loving, sensation-seeking media. If you want to see the real dirty bunch, look at those who are robbing our homes, looting our retirement plans, corrupting our politics, and exporting our jobs … all to buy yet another vacation condo, yacht, Ferrari, or private jet.

  7. brian mc donald says:

    There is a right and a wrong way to protest, have you ever heard of a poor person hiring anyone, the protesters are guided by the wrong master, keep searching it will be made public eventually, if you are going to protest get good leadership

  8. brian mc donald says:

    PS, it is not wall street, it is the government

  9. Jay from Wellington says:

    No, it’s Wall Street, which owns the government.

  10. brian mc donald says:

    Wal street did’nt own Solyndra, General Motors, AIG, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, etc, etc, etc.

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