Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hidden Fees for Doggy Daycare, Plate Sharing & Beverages

A doggy daycare/boarding facility provided my family with a few extra lessons in frugal living. Due to a fine-print charge, we paid far more than expected for dog-sitting services. And while talking with a friend, I've discovered that a number of consumer services carry extra fees that inflate our costs.

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.




Random Ramblings said...

I've had the same experience with pet sitters. They charge for gas to come to your house, and extra $$$ for each additional pet (guess that's somewhat understandable but just to put water and food in the cats' dish is like $30.00!!!).

There was also a segment on the news here this morning about how some cruise lines are giving refunds to previous passengers for overcharging them for "gas and fuel".

Anonymous said...

I think the tailoring fees are different than the others you have listed. You are asking the tailor to perform a service, and paying for that service... I wouldn't say it's a hidden cost.
Maybe you meant that tailoring and alteration expenses are the "hidden cost" of buying inexpensive clothes that don't quite fit right? (Not that there's anything wrong with that... I imagine we've all made that mistake with sales/thrift clothing at least once.)

james said...

yup,i agree with random ramblings.
these dog day care charge some extra $$$$.
infact now i never let my pet go to them.
i have started training them on my own..
now i can easily train and look after my pet..