The practice of burying hidden fees on bills, and how it rips consumers off is gaining some visibility:
Broadband Reports: companies are "taking business expenses and breaking them out as below the line fees, so they can misleadingly advertise a lower rate".
MSNBC: "Those $5 and $10 charges really add up. Even with these limitations, Americans told us they lose $946 to sneaky fees every year, enough to stock a sizable retirement fund."
Michigan Telephone: "People, please, stop just putting up with corporations stealing from you. Would you let someone walk into your home and smile as they carted off your possessions, or took a few bills out of your wallet or purse? Heck, would you let your kids do that? Then why do you let big corporations do it to you, without a word of protest??"
Here in Canada there's one wireless fee that grates on everybody's nerves. It's the "system access fee". There isn't a carrier that doesn't charge six or seven bucks a month under the line item called system access, so you can't even switch carriers to avoid paying the darn thing! When you ask about it, you get a shrug along with the comment "everybody charges it".
Mention it the next time you talk with your carrier. I always do, and I always force the CSR to explain what it's for to me. Then I ask them to remove this non-service fee from my bill. Every time I talk with them, though, they politely refuse. It costs the carrier $25 to $30 per call to receive my call. Three or four calls per year asking about what that "system access fee" is on my statement will wipe out any profits they make from nickeling and diming me. It's a little subversive, but it's just the sort of thing that appeals to the Canadian in me. And perhaps if enough people did the same, the bean counting MBAs who work in product management at Canadian carriers would see the logic of discontinuing this practice.