At hotels, ‘for your convenience’ rarely is

Look out — the hotel “convenience” wave is spreading.
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That’s some blockbuster! Movie theater charges 50-cent “service fee” on ticket

Just when you thought you’d seen it all, along comes another business with another absurd fee.
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Warning! These fees are about to get even more ridiculous

Don’t look now, but one of the most unfair fees in corporate America is about to get even more unfair.
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Junk fees and other obstacles of the road

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At the intersection of Highway 20 and Highway 101 in Willits, Calif., you’ll find three service stations. But look closely before you pump gas, otherwise you could pay a lot more than you expect.

What follows is a cautionary tale about junk fees, from an industry that journalists like me tend to ignore, unless it’s spilling hundreds of millions of gallons of unprocessed petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico.

But the cost of a product, both perceived and real, are very much in the news today, with a key part of the Affordable Care Act scheduled to kick in Oct. 1. Fees are a hot topic in my neck of the woods, with some industry apologists spinning the absurd argument that junk fees such as the ones I ran into are good for consumers, because it gives them choices.
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Sick restaurant surcharges you shouldn’t have to pay — or should you?

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Ward Chartier almost choked on his breakfast croissant he ordered at Oakland International Airport recently.

The reason for his consternation: an item on the bill that he thought he recognized, but hoped he didn’t.

It said, “EmpBen_Srchg” and it came to 12 cents, or about 2 percent of his bill.

“I interpret this to be employee benefit surcharge,” says Chartier, a consultant who lives in San Ramon, Calif. He asked me if I knew anything about the mysterious fee.

I didn’t, so I asked Oakland Airport.
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