February 25 2010|08.54 AM UTC

Jonathan Rivers

The 12 Biggest Ripoffs in America

Category: Featured, SavingsTags: , , ,


Many of us feel ripped off in our day to day spending, so much so that bringing up even a single rip-off story in a group of people is likely to trigger a flood of them from everyone else. Whether it’s at the movies, in restaurants or on vacation, we seldom believe we are getting as much for our money as we ought to. Of course, some rip-off stories are more debatable than others. Often times, what is called a rip-off is little more than someone’s subjective opinion of what they “really” deserve for their money, whatever that means. However, other purchases actually do appear, by all objective criteria, to be a raw deal just about all the time. Today, BillShrink analyzes some common rip-offs as mentioned recently by CNN Money, that most of our readers are likely to be well acquainted with.

Movie Theater Popcorn

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Movie theater popcorn is as much an American icon as baseball and apple pie. Like a moth to its flame, movie-goers instinctively load up on hot, buttery popcorn before sitting down to enjoy the show. It’s hard to imagine things being any other way. That being said, movie theater popcorn is without question one of the biggest, most egregious rip-offs around. ABC News reported in July 2008 that a small bucket of movie theater popcorn will run you “around $5.50 — more per ounce than filet mignon.” University of California-Irvine professor Richard McKenzie, who wrote a book on this very subject, conjectures that popcorn costs less than ten cents an ounce to produce. That makes the markup somewhere between 900%-1,300%! The reason appears to be that movie theaters do not make much money on actual ticket sales. According to McKenzie, “the theater can be paying 70 or more percent of the ticket price to the studios.” That leaves concessions, like popcorn and candy, as the next logical place to raise prices and recoup some of the revenue being sacrificed at the ticket counter.

Text Messages

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Another rip-off most of us would hate to go without is text messaging. According to Srinivasan Keshav, a computer scientist who testified before the Senate on the matter during summer 2009, text messages cost about one third of a cent each for a carrier to deliver. But despite that cost, the typical pay-per-text plan whacks cell phone users to the tune of twenty cents and ten cents per each outgoing and incoming text, respectively. That equates to an eye-popping markup of 6,500%. Nor do unlimited texting plans completely eliminate the rip-off factor, since the carrier’s overhead is likely to be right around the $10 or so that is usually charged for such plans. Most of the time, the carrier comes out ahead regardless.

College Textbooks

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College textbooks have the unique feature of being a rip-off on at least two different dimensions. First is the price charged to students. CNN cites a study by the Government Accountability Office showing that “textbook prices nearly tripled from 1986 to 2004 — a jump that’s twice the rate of annual inflation over the last two decades.” In fact, the average estimated cost of books and supplies in a given college year is $900, and many students report paying far more than that. However, it’s not just the actual price of the textbooks. In many college courses, the textbooks are never or seldom even used! Savvy college students have found that they can often glean the material needed from the Internet, or simply by looking on with a friend on rare days when the text is being used by the professor. It’s bad enough to be gouged at the checkout counter, but to rarely even use the textbooks takes the rip-off factor to new heights!

Branded Painkillers

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Brand name, over-the-counter painkillers like Advil are sold at a 60% markup, according to Yahoo! Finance. Many will no doubt counter this fact by objecting that yes, the price is higher, but the pain relief is superior. But this is incorrect. As Yahoo explains, the law requires all generic drugs to be just as effective (and even use the exact same active ingredients) as the branded drugs they are modeled after. Yet still, a 50 tablet bottle of 200mg Advil somehow costs $8.49, while Duane Reade charges “just $5.29 for the exact same bottle of generic ibuprofen.” So unlike the age-old “store brand” debate where there is a qualitative difference between a generic and branded product, painkillers are the rare exception of being, literally, the very same product for a lower price.

“Free” Credit Reports

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Admit it – you’ve found yourself humming one of those catchy FreeCreditReport.com commercials at least once or twice. But while the commercials are memorable, the service being offered – allegedly “free” access to your credit report – is an unmitigated rip-off. For one thing, it’s questionable that there is a need for any business to offer such a service, as the government mandates that all consumers can check their credit score history once a year for free anyway. [Ed. Note: You can only check your credit report & history for free once per year, per each credit reporting agency. Thanks to eagle-eyed readers and the friendly call-in!] Beyond that, most of these services unwittingly bilk people into signing up for paid monthly subscriptions that actually charge them for what was supposedly being offered free. Time Magazine reported in November 2009 that the government went so far as to issue public warnings that FreeCreditReport.com and their ilk were not free at all. When you charge money despite the word “free” being in your corporate name, it’s tough to argue that your service isn’t a rip-off to consumers.

Wine Service at Restaurants

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This rip-off rests upon a shrewd appraisal of human psychology by bar and restaurant owners. Most people, when dining with a date, will never order the least expensive bottle of wine on the menu for fear of looking cheap. Instead, they will opt for the second least expensive wine to cover their bases. According to Time Magazine, “restaurateurs know this behavior well, and so they often put the heftiest markup on that second-cheapest bottle.” In fact, the cheapest bottle on the restaurant’s menu might actually cost more if you bought the same thing at a package store. The best course of action is deciding upon a wine that you objectively enjoy drinking (regardless of where you are) and order that without regard for the psychological pricing tactics of restaurants and bars.

Hotel Mini-Bars

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Anyone who has ever paid $2.00 for a minuscule bag of Doritos is already nodding their head in agreement. It’s true: hotel mini-bars are one of the biggest ripoffs around. Here, again, human psychology is taken into account by the hotel operators doing the pricing. Years of experience have demonstrated that the typical hotel guest is tired and weary from a day or more of traveling. Once they arrive, the last thing they want to do is get back into the car and drive around a strange new area looking for a convenience store. In fact, they are so loathe to venture out on the road that paying 1,300% more than usual for candy and soda starts to look like a decent idea after all. Rather than paying such inflated prices, just anticipate that you will want snacks in advance and stop off somewhere before checking in.

All You Can Eat Buffets

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All you can eat buffets thrive on an all too appealing sales pitch: pay once, eat all you want. It might seem difficult at first to find fault with such a generous offer. However, buffet operators do not offer that deal because they’re generous – they offer it because they know their numbers and study their customers. While the typical buffet charges somewhere between $12-$15, they know that that the average customer is not likely to eat very much more than they would’ve purchased for $7 or $8 at McDonalds, despite the fact that they can if they choose to. Furthermore, it’s questionable whether the quality of the food being served is much better than that of a fast food restaurant. Therefore, what often ends up happening is that a buffet’s customers pay for the ability to eat twice as much as they actually eat, on average.

Premium Gasoline

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This one is sure to draw the ire of at least a few people that swears by “premium” gas (when their car doesn’t need it). For whatever reason, many people believe that filling up with premium grade gasoline is somehow “better” for their car, or even that it “cleans out the engine.” Others actually believe that it is essential to put premium gas in their car and that it will malfunction if you try to run it on anything less. For most drivers, nothing could be further from the truth. Just check your car’s owners manual. If you need to use premium gas for a legitimate, mechanical reason, it will be stated in the manual so many times that it will be impossible to miss. Many luxury and performance cars often require premium gas because their high performance engines require higher octane – that is, slower burning – fuel. But if your owners manual makes no mention of it, you are simply wasting money on each premium gallon you purchase.

Actively Managed Investments

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In his book I Will Teach You to Be Rich, personal finance blogger Ramit Sethi writes that “fund managers fail to beat the market 75% of the time.” Not only do they fail to beat the market, Sethi writes, “but they actually charge a fee to do this.” With such a lousy track record of performance, one might expect mutual fund managers to lower the fees they charge. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort is true. It is common for mutual fund managers to charge 1.5%-3% on however much money you invest into their funds. It might not sound like much, but a 2% expense ratio on a $10,000 portfolio means $200 out of your pocket at the end of the year. Index funds, on the other hands, have few or no fees and generally at least match (if not slightly beat) the overall market’s performance year in and year out.

In-Room Movies

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As if gouging you at the mini-bar wasn’t enough, hotels are also happy to help themselves to your money via in-room movie sales. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with offering such a service, the rates charged are hardly what one would call competitive – as much as $10-$15 for a single movie, according to CNN. A Redbox machine, by contrast, will rent you a DVD for as little as $1 a night. A NetFlix account isn’t much more expensive, and streaming movies on your laptop is another inexpensive alternative. In other words, paying for in-room movie service at a hotel is just about the most expensive way to watch a movie imaginable. As with snacks and soda, it’s smarter to anticipate that you will want to watch one before checking in and make less expensive arrangements.

Health Club Memberships

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While not every gym or health club membership is a raw deal, many of them are. In most cases, it’s not the price that’s unjustified but the terms of the contract itself. Bally’s Total Fitness, for instance, hides a clause in their contracts stating that you cannot cancel your membership – even if you lose your job and sincerely no longer wish to use the gym – unless you die or move to a town where there are no gyms. No exceptions are made. Consumer Affairs even reports that a man who provided “military orders sending me to Europe” was denied the ability to cancel his membership. A gym that insists upon charging someone money for a service they are not using and do not wish to use, even when they are given orders to leave the country for combat, is a rip-off in the purest sense of the word!

Printer Inks (Bonus Rip-off via BillShrink Readers)

You’re absolutely right, Shrinkage readers. How could we forget about the abominations that is printer ink — the bane of all consumer existence? As pointed out succinctly by the Oatmeal, and frequently noted by other people on the interweb, printer inks makes us want to scream in silent rage (especially during the checkout aisle at Office-Super-Max-Staple-Depot). Unfortunately for us, printer inks follow the tried-and-true razor blade marketing tactic of offering something at an hugely marked down price (printers) in order to sell something disposable, but needed continually, for a much higher markup price (printer inks).

Alternatives? We suggest finding a printer you can trust that has all the features you’ll need for years to come, and find a good alternative/generic brand ink cartridge set for that particular printer. You should note however that many generic brands may be manufactured from refurbished ink cartridges (there’s a huge industry for this), and at times, some generics or refilled ink cartridges may not work well. Always do your homework before you buy!

Beyond the nine rip-offs mentioned by CNN, we’ve also added in four more rip-offs that makes us cringe. What are some other rip-offs you can think of?

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{ 468 comments… read them below or add one }

Soph August 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Tanning beds: You are pretty much paying someone else to give you skin cancer.

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Anonymous October 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm

on that note, cigarettes are probably the biggest rip off i can think of

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Anonymous December 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm

i think they do that on purpose so you wont buy them. didn’t you know smoking is bad for you?

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peter February 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm

yes actually cigarettes are a rip-off just like any other addiction or bad habit. Maybe that weakness is what allows rip-offs. I can learn to avoid the other rip-offs just by reading about them but a habit like smoking, one realizes the impending lung cancer but between the choice of cursing out my boss,wife and c0-w0rkers…….a cigarette has given me pause on numerous occasion to avoid impending doom.

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Jeff August 12, 2010 at 5:14 pm

You might want to add wireless phones. You get a two year contract, you have to add a data plan on most smartphones and they get you with a $250 – $350 early termination fee. Often the features of the phone are locked and, or limited. We are essentially talking about a $200 toy that makes people into roaming nomads.

The quality on CDMA and GMS (3g or not) is generally horrible. The data is slow, limited. The audio quality is pathetic for the 21st century. Don’t even get me started on dropped calls. This is, however, what we get for over paying for such a primitive technology. They generally overload the phone with features because the service (services) are so horrible.

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ncgrits March 3, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Also, cell phones operate on the same frequency as microwave ovens, you can get a brain tumor if you are on them a lot…..think about your brain being cooked from the inside out…..scarey!

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Buddy May 11, 2011 at 1:34 am

Your an idiot. Microwaves are at the higher frequency end of the radio wave band and low frequency radio waves are at the lower frequency end. Microwave ovens use frequencies between 300MHz (0.3GHz) and 300GHz in the electromagnetic spectrum.
It’s the Wi-Fi that you should worry about. Most use 2.45GHz (carrier wave), the same frequency as microwave ovens

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Craig January 31, 2012 at 10:38 am

You spelled “You’re” wrong, and you’re calling someone else an idiot.

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Me April 11, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Nothing useful to contribute except being a spelling nazi. Your mom must be so proud.

Free Willey September 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm

You spelled “YOU’RE” wrong… That is hilarious. I don’t care how old this part of the comments are… it’s like a bad comedy skit! LMAO!!!

Anonymous August 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm

that is not even remotely true

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Jeeremy September 3, 2010 at 10:25 am

I agree mobile phone specially Verizon wireless. I mean all the other carriers have something else: more minutes for the money, roll over, free mobile to mobile, earlier nights and weekends. but Verizon has the “Can you hear me now? PAY YOUR !@#$% BILL!” which charges for everything.

Apple products (pick any), Premium price for white pieces of crap. I was forced by my kids to buy their crappy products after filling quite a bit of e-waste land fields, I decided that no more. Sold the crappy crashing a(yes, they crash, I hate the pin wheel of doom) and very disobedient Macs and got some refurbished Dell computers. I literary save $1000 a year with that move. By oldest daughter still mad but she can print in all the printers in the house and has never lost any music or homework assignments yet.

Bottle water. Isn;t water like almost free? I pour gallons on the lawn daily, yet a freaking quart of bottle of water can cost more than a gallon of full service premium gas? Yeah it is Smart Water stupid consumer.

Microsoft Windows and Office (if they were not a monopoly could they charge that much? Heck NO!) I bought 4 refurbished business computers from a local vendor that resells small business computers that have been upgraded. Fortunately mine had Windows and Office. My son wanted me to upgrade and I check it out it would be over $500 each computer! Oh heck re they kidding? They mass produce this stuff. Come on! If they are selling billions of these they do not need to charge that much! I also installed OpenOffice (which my wife and younger kids like better) and it was FREE! Huh!

Satellite and cable TV – I had it last year when cable raise my prices and the satellite company wanted me to sign a 1 year contract so I went and bought and antenna. Sure I do not get that many channels but I only used it for the major networks and whatever else I use Netflix and Hulu. Not only I have better selection, I can do it at my own time. Wow now I am glad that the cable and satellite companies made me think it over.

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Anonymous January 6, 2011 at 11:51 am

Netflix is the way to go!!! We save 70 bucks a month with no contract!

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tl2012 May 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm

APPLE product is actually quality product but they are a major rip-offs when it comes to accessories. APPLE are very good at offering less but making you think you get more. The charges you big time for add-ons.

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Rae September 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm

You might as well add Apple products as well. Don’t get me wrong I love Macs, and I adore my ipod, but I’m not going to lie, it’s way over priced. I got a 180 G ipod classic, and all it does is store music, photos, videos, and games. It’s cost over $300, bought brand new. And when you try to put music on it, you have to pay like on average $.99 a song. Which is total bull crap. AND if you go to a different computer to add more songs on your ipod, if you synch the songs from the different computer it will delete all the current songs on your ipod. So you can only have all the songs on your ipod from one computer basically. You can’t add on more, like with an mp3 player.
Ipods are basically overpriced accessories. And it’s not too much different for the Mac. Mine cost me 2 grand. And ok, I love it loads and loads and loads more than my PC. BUT it should not be this bloody expensive. I mean with my Mac, I’m paying more for what? Ok, better definition, sure, simplier yet elegent look, yes, also Macs are less vuneralble against viruses (less viruses affect Macs then PCs). There are a lot of things I like about my Mac, like two finger scroll, the four finger swipe, the blacklight on the keyboard, voice command…
but Macs can’t carry out certain programs that are available for the Windows counterpart. Sure there are copycat programs you can download, but some don’t live up to the full extend of the true thing. Plus when transitioning from a PC to a Mac, you have to consider the fact that you might have to buy the same program that is compatible with the Mac. (Like photoshop, as I have learned -___-; )
Also it has been in my experience that once you buy anything technology related (especially brand new) you end up feeling kinda ripped off later when a newer, better version comes out, which it only varies from slightly, but it leaves your machine in the dark ages and practically worth crap.

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james October 4, 2010 at 6:50 pm

don’t sync your ipod. just copy the file to your ipod directly in itunes… make a playlist and dump the mp3s you want into that folder. i turned all my syncs off on my itunes. never lost an mp3 yet

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Anonymous October 4, 2010 at 10:07 pm

You can get flip4mac….it converts PC stuff to make it compatible with your Mac.

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Synth February 4, 2011 at 11:06 am

Remind us again, why do you have a Mac and an iPod?

Do you really have either? Virtually every problem you listed is a non-issue.

And if you have to play Crysis, just get Parallels or something.

Sheesh.

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Mitch September 14, 2010 at 8:20 am

There are some good points laid out in this article but it’s funny how the author uses several complex words throughout and still manages to miss his singular/plural references. Things ARE; a thing IS.
e.g. How could we forget about the abominations that is printer ink — the bane of all consumer existence? As pointed out succinctly by the Oatmeal, and frequently noted by other people on the interweb, printer inks makes us want to scream in silent rage (especially during the checkout aisle at Office-Super-Max-Staple-Depot)

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Tyler October 6, 2010 at 8:17 am

LOL. Too true. I thought I was losing my mind when I read those the first time. The teacher in me had to reread them a few times.

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Lisa September 15, 2010 at 2:16 am

Cosmetics. They re-package and re-name the same brand of lipstick a thousand times over and scam women into buying it, a million times over. There is nothing truly innovative in the cosmetics industry anymore so they just keep pulling out the same old tried and true methods. Which is show it to you on someone who is impossibly pretty and somehow convince you that if you have that exact same thing, you’ll look the exact same way.

Wake up people

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ncgrits March 3, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Not only that, but some of the “name brand cosmetics contain harmful chemicals….especially mascara, there is Mercury in most of the well known brands, I gave up mascara during chemo when I lost my hair eyebrows and eyelashes….don’t miss it, but glad it all grew back.

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ron September 17, 2010 at 9:28 pm

How can u say that things are a rip off when they are the most sold items there are. We obviously want them and we obviously have money to spend on them if we do buy them. What makes that a rip off? Because it should be cheaper? Whoever invents a good idea they deserve to get paid good. Their giving us what we want.

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Anonymous December 9, 2010 at 6:02 pm

homeboy makes an extremely good point

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Anonymous January 11, 2011 at 10:29 am

Excellent point, Ron! One reason innovative products cost so much is that developers have to go down a lot of dead ends before they find something that works. If they can’t cover the costs, there’s no incentive to innovate. (Also, see comments Maul made on October 9th.)

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Ace August 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm

thats actually a terrible point. if a developer prices a bag of candy to be resold at 1 dollar who are you to sell it for 2? thats what we call a rip off. college txt books are often written and a school sells them for 100 plus when its time to sell back guess what? BAM its worth 5 bucks cuz there is a new edition. Side by Side comparison results in a typo in the appendix. its called a ripoff.

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Mat September 18, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Ron the retard is right, we want to pay more for products we need; especially when a company has a monopoly and jacks the price up so we have no choice. How could you say it’s a rip-off, isn’t free-enterprise the American way?

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Anonymous September 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm

How can you say that any tech provider has a monopoly when there’s a simple alternative . . . don’t buy the product.

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Anonymous September 24, 2010 at 5:49 am

Mat the meathead, hit the nail on the donkey….

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WineCanine October 6, 2010 at 9:10 am

A bottle of wine *might* cost less at a package store than at a restaurant? A bottle of wine WILL cost less than at a package store — the usual markup for a restaurant is 2X to 3X retail. A *glass* of wine might cost less than a bottle of the same thing at retail, though!

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Maul October 9, 2010 at 12:37 am

Some of this is whining, ‘Oh no, the big bad corporation made a profit, booo hoo.’

Okay, some of these are rip offs, but big whoop. Yeah they charge way to much for popcorn, but its not like its hidden fee or something. Its not they advertise it at 2 cents a kernel, so you don’t know what your really spending until you spend it.

Granted there is some good advice here, like suggesting cheaper alternatives, but the text messaging on in general was the worst. Lines like this “Nor do unlimited texting plans completely eliminate the rip-off factor, since the carrier’s overhead is likely to be right around the $10 or so that is usually charged for such plans. Most of the time, the carrier comes out ahead regardless.” So? That money keeps them in business and employs people. Do you expect them to only charge you exactly what you are costing them, so they operate at a non-profit level? Come on.

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Bob October 11, 2010 at 11:34 am

How about Bottled water.

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James October 13, 2010 at 6:43 pm

MONSTER CABLES!!!!

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Roby May 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm

And I thought I was the sebnslie one. Thanks for setting me straight.

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Ripple619 October 19, 2010 at 1:23 am

ATM surcharges.

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roughgem October 27, 2010 at 1:08 pm

On that note, debit overdrafts, where a cup of coffee that was supposed to be $1.50 could end up costing $36.50.

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thatonethere October 21, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Charging for air for car tires!

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Buddy May 11, 2011 at 1:45 am

Your not paying for air, your paying for the electricity used and maintenance of the machine. I admit there is a profit, but only if the machine and hoses never break.

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Nate October 30, 2010 at 11:22 pm

FYI–part of the reason popcorn costs so much at movie theaters is that you’re not only paying for the popcorn, you’re also paying for someone to clean up after you when you spill half of it on the ground. And you’re also covering costs of those same people cleaning up after those that sneak foods into the movie theater and make a mess. That’s partially why popcorn can be so expensive.

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Bobby Riz November 3, 2010 at 2:46 pm

The am pm arco charges $.45 each time you use your debit card to fill up. No one else charges that.That $.45 cents can be used for gas which would give me extra mileage. Gas prices are high enough as it is why charge the “convenience” fee.

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Autumn November 11, 2010 at 10:43 pm

yep all valid points…..how about the markup on healthy food vs store brand…. or wal mart’s mark up on milk just so you will buy great value milk perceiving it as a better price when i can buy borden for the same price elsewhere but walmart charges $5 or more….but GV is 2.49

and sippy cups. and diapers. and lotion that has chemicals that still costs too much but is “best for baby” do babies really need to be lotioned up anyway? arent they usually the ones with the healthiest skin?

And…..hair stylists……$80 for a haircut! what if i can find someone decent for 16.95, you bet i will drop the overpriced “stylist” its hair people not rocket science….that beautiful haircut will look just like the 16.95 one in two weeks

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Anonymous February 21, 2011 at 7:28 am

Hell Yea pass the ketchup!!!

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Greg November 14, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Perfumes: $70 for 1.7 oz, that’s over $5,000 a gallon.

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Anonymous November 15, 2010 at 5:54 pm

cookies.

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Iremon November 20, 2010 at 2:31 pm

The illustration for ‘Actively Managed Investments’ show a pen and a pair of round eyeglass frames.
The pen probably costs $5. The eyeglass frames, which have about the same amount of metal and plastic, probably go for about $200-$250, without the lenses.

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Gummybear November 28, 2010 at 1:12 am

I used to get 100 swedish berries or gummy bears with a dollar now i have to buy them in packs and get like 20 for $1.35 or goto a bulk store and pay by weight and still not get nearly as many.
What a rip off!

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Andy December 7, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Don’t forget the biggest ripoff of all. We pay more and more taxes to cover corruption in the government (big time!!). We also pay more taxes for unnecessary wars and for bailouts to help the RICH!!!

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Anonymous January 11, 2011 at 10:36 am

Right on, Andy! I’d pick different examples, but I agree with you in principle. When we pay taxes for the government to do something we can do ourselves, we’re wasting money and losing our independence. Those who say “the government should do such-and-such” often forget that every penny will come out their own pockets and the pockets of others–they actually forget that the government does not have its own money.

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Mike December 18, 2010 at 5:36 pm

How about HDMI cables? Some stores like Bestbuy (really WORST buy) and Sears sell these $10 cables for as much as $150-$200. The fact is these cables act like an electrical plug or a USB cord. Any HDMI cable will work just as well. So don’t give away your money.

Mike

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Any One December 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Paying for forced channels on cable TV is a huge ripoff. Public TV was always FREE until the government decided to take over and rip us off.

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shawn February 21, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Talking about cable, what I want to know is why we still are forced to watch commercials. The price of cable keeps going up and up. When tv came out the viewer paid for it by watching commercial’s but now we pay for it twice. It’s like 100 bucks a month for two boxes. That’s fine but why do I have to watch commercial’s? I have made a point if I see a commercial to often I refuse to buy there product. I don’t understand why they think a coke drinker will buy Pepsi because of a commercial. I am so sick of companys treating me like cattle they can brain wash and bleeding me while they do it.

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Nick December 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm

The ipad at over $600 is a huge ripoff. A laptop can do a lot more and a lot better at almost half the price. Meanwhile Apple is laughing at all the suckers on the way to the bank!!!!!

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mae January 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Called Apple and told them my first gen. I-Touch wifi stopped working. They told me to come in at Crocker Park. The Genius spent 3 minutes on it, said it worked.The wi-fi was not working. The Genius did not even pry it open. BUT She told me to replace it, I would have to spend another 149.00 That is a rip-off. You can buy a 4th generation for 229.00 Has APPLE GOTTEN GREEDY?

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Kevin January 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Buying a large tea at somewhere like starbucks is a HUGE ripoff. The difference between a small tea and a large tea is the amount of water you put into it, but that doesn’t stop them from charging you $2.50 or so for a 10-cent teabag and some hot water in a paper cup.

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The General February 17, 2011 at 8:05 am

The Durbin Amendment. It will cost consumers millions of not billions a year in higher banking fees. It was sold to congress as a way to help consumers, but it will only help retail stores. There is no requirement that they pass on any savings they get on the Interchange Cap to consumers, so they won’t. Government should stop trying to set the price of goods and services, it will eventually kill the free markets and our way of life. Repeal this amendment!!

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Fonda February 17, 2011 at 10:14 am

Thanks for the insightful comment, General. It’s great you’ve been keeping up with all these developments. Public comments on the Durbin Amendment don’t close until Feb 22nd so you still have time to put in your word!

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Jason May 19, 2011 at 5:14 am

Hmm, placing a cash order with your bank! Some banks charge $5 per bundle when you preorder

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purrr May 19, 2011 at 5:16 am

Vinyl Records! 12.99 retail, but only worth 0.25 cents as soon as you open them or as soon as they leave the store.

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Tino June 12, 2011 at 11:21 am

Buying a more expensive airline ticket just so you can collect the frequent flyer miles. You’d think this would be obvious, but just yesterday I was online looking to purchase an airline ticket from New York City to Manila, Philippines. I had the choice of buying the cheapest ticket at $1,297. or buying a ticket for $2,109. on an airline where I was a loyal frequent flyer mile collector. Can you believe it actually crossed my mind to pay almost $1,000 more to fly on an airline just to collect miles — miles that are often near impossible to redeem???? Seriously, my mind had become so warped by the obsession to collect miles that I almost threw away a lot of hard earned cash. If loyalty is blind, then the airlines are probably pretty happy about that.

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Sallie June 19, 2011 at 7:32 pm

The biggest rip off in the world is Rain Soft, and most other water softener equipment. The sales agents are all hocus-pocus, and will have you believing your water is about to kill you, but sign the dotted line on easy terms, and you’ll live forever. Don’t fall for it. Call your plumber if you have one; if not, search the products on the net. Rain Soft policy is a lie,too. There is no lifetime guarantee, unless you marry them forever, costing you anywhere from $90.00 to $500.00 a year for “maintenance”. My mistake cost me $5000.00 for the unit. Don’t let this happen to you.

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Treesa July 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Biggest rip off all: When you close your home purchasing, the buyer have to pay the bank attorney fee for the bank to protect their money and another attorney who is representing him on the closing the transaction. I cannot find any justifiction in this.

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RJC August 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Uh, why are you paying an attorney to buy a home? When we closed on our home, it was just us, the title company, and the seller at the table.

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Anonymous August 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm

The biggest rip-off of all time is the credit cards, while charging you interest, they charge the retailers fees to accept they cards. unbelievable great rip-off even more than the gas companies.
that should be illegal to charge the retailers fees to take your cards, If all retailers stop taking the cards they will be out of business.

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kristin August 30, 2011 at 12:33 am

There are a few sites now that offer free scores without the ripoff aspect. Notably creditsesame.com, creditcarma and quizzle. They are educational scores not fico but they are just about as good as the other ripoff free credit scores.

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Elijah September 26, 2011 at 4:48 am

dont forget itunes you pay $1 per song and most people have a LOT of songs. I have 88 songs for no charge on Frostwire.

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Anonymous October 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Can’t believe CarFax hasn’t been mentioned on here yet. Charging $40 to receive information that MAY or MAY not be accurate about a car you are about to purchase, because they only receive info for cars based on records that pretty much ANY car would have (such as registration info), not from insurance companies records which would be the real telling story on whether a car has a notorious service history. No wonder there are so many reports of CarFax being WAY off on the history of autos, in some cases even having the wrong VIN info.

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Dan December 3, 2011 at 7:01 am

How come staellite TV subscriptions are not ultimate rip-offs? $480 early termination fee is DEFINITELY a rip-off. Well, cable TV subscriptions are, most of the time, rip-offs as well.

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Omar December 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Bally’s gave its loyal members a great example of Corporate greed and LA Fitness is providing the shaft by ending and not honoring the Bally’s fitness lifetime members contract nor any other. I am Miami, Florida (Attending Bally’s at Southland Mall) and I was informed by the new LA Fitness staff that Bally’s has sold all of its memberships with a final expiration date ending 2012 of a calendar year (Corporate Greed), in which time all will be subject to LA Fitness new monthly rates (The Shaft.)

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Greg Hammel December 17, 2011 at 10:32 am

What about BARS? Clubs? Taverns? The typical night out to an establishment can be very costly in cash and health. Paying $5 a beer plus tips + 400-1000% mark-up. Drinking that many calories and bar food! Statistically you have increased the chances of getting into trouble/accident due to an alcohol related incident.

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J Downer December 25, 2011 at 7:27 am

When the printer tells you the ink is about to run out … and to insert a new cartridge. You would be amazed at how many more copies can be made BEFORE the cartridge REALLY starts to run out and the print fades.

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spit January 21, 2012 at 7:57 am

yea and what about the high cost of heroin can you believe those nasty drugdealers trying to rip us off wtf

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chris February 26, 2012 at 9:08 am

The question is: Can you live without these ripoffs ???

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Ron April 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Size of packaging.
The latest I found is keep the price the same but make the portions smaller and smaller. Ever see the size of Ben and Jerry ice cream now? Bag of potato chips half filled with air. Most food prices seemed to stay the same, they just shrunk the portions and the amount of food you actually get inside the bag.

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nate May 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm

You should buy re manufactured cartridges…cheaper and work just as good. (i should know, I make them!)

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Joe Blow October 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Never, ever buy an electronic cable from Radio Shack or any brick and mortar retail store.
Alway go online and buy from monoprice.com. Way, way, way less expensive.

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Zombie Joe October 17, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I wrote an article for my college newspaper back in the 80′s about textbooks. An algebra class required the purchase of new textbooks, so used ones were not allowed. I tracked down four previous additions from former students and compared them to the newest addition. The only difference between the five textbooks was the preface. All other pages were exactly the same. Chapters, worksheets, problems were all identical. Each preface gave the same information, just worded differently. Throughout the rest of my college years I would try to find older additions of the new textbooks that I purchased. Most had very little or no new information in them, yet very few classes allowed used textbooks. I’ve always wondered who got the kickback.

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