Over the past month I had two experiences that seem too coincidental to be true and highlight how desperate some companies are to chase every penny. These are massive corporations that seem intent on sneaking in false fees and charges hoping that their customers don’t notice.

The first involved United Airlines. The airline industry already suffers from poor reputation and it seems United is doubling down on it. I had a flight back from a vacation and thought I’d treat ourselves to an upgrade. United had an option to use miles and money which would charge you immediately, add you to the upgrade list, and refund both if you weren’t picked. We didn’t get the upgrade but we miraculously received a refund of the miles but only half of the money. It took a few phone calls but in the end I got the refund.

The second was a much smaller amount but just as frustrating. I requested a new debit card from Bank of America and got a wonderful notice telling me it was free of charge, this time. Lo and behold I check my statement in a week and see a debit for a “card replacement fee.” Sure enough a phone called took care of this as well.

It’s possible I’m overreacting and these attempts were accidental but it’s incredibly frustrating to have to waste time on a phone dealing with these errors. I’m more annoyed than most since I code for a living and know how easy these would be to fix. If not malicious then it’s negligent. There’s no consumer protection here and I’m sure tons of people fall privy to this scam. I wish we could do more but for now all we can do is always review our billing statements.


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