Here's what happened to us: We were traveling and faced limited options for our dog. We could not bring him with us and friends weren't available to watch our dog Scruffy, pictured on our couch. Therefore, we booked our dog at an overnight boarding service that charges $35 a night. But in making reservations, we did not consider the additional fees, including a bathing fee and a late pick-up fee.
Basically, if your dog stays for two days or more, the doggy daycare operator automatically gives your pet a bath and charges you for grooming. (Prices vary.) Additionally, if you pick up your pet after 2 pm, there is an additional fee of $15. The service also charges a $15 evaluation fee.
Bottom line: We paid far more than $70 for a two-night visit.
I shared my doggy daycare experience with a friend and together we brainstormed about other hidden fees that can bust a budget:
1) Extra cruise fees: Family cruises, especially some of the budget lines, are packed with hidden fees. For example, day trips (diving, sightseeing, touring) at different ports cost extra. Using the gym or the cruise ship spa services may also carry additional fees. And even with an all-you-can-eat menu, some ships charge extra for soda, coffee, juices and other beverages.
2. Tailoring fees: We purchased a suit for my middle son at a very fair price, but when we brought the suit to the tailor, we were unpleasantly surprised by a $30 charge to hem the pants and nip the waist.
3. Plate sharing fee: Some restaurants charge a fee (about $2.50) if you share your entree with someone at your table. The eatery doesn't give you more food, but charges additional for splitting the entree.
4. Ticket broker fees: Some online and phone ticket vendors charge hefty transaction fees. I purchased bargain tickets and the fees were almost as much as the individual tickets.
The lesson: Ask extra questions and fully investigate the total cost of a product or service.