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No choice but to pay extra for 'convenience?' Where added costs can make your bill higher

Posted: 5:15 AM, Feb 28, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-28 09:33:31-05
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PHOENIX — Hidden fees. Two words that can rile up any of us trying to stay on a budget. It's why those family weekend adventures may cost a little more than you'd expect.

From movies to live shows, buying tickets ahead of time online can come with extra fees - and they're called many different things.

If two of you want to take in the upcoming Eagles concert at Talking Stick Resort Arena, through Ticketmaster it's a whopping $65 just for the service fees and $5 more for the processing fees.

Want to see a movie? Beat the line and you'll pay a convenience fee per order.
$3.78 at AMC. $3.58 at Fandango. $3.00 at Harkins.

According to the Harkins website, the fee is charged "to ensure the most convenient experience... Allowing guests to purchase their ideal seats before a show sells out and avoid lines."

Eating out can come with extra costs, often hidden until you get your check.

Look for labor surcharges. Restaurants in California, Colorado and here in Arizona have added them to supposedly make up for minimum-wage increases. They can add around 4% to your bill. Have a big group? Look for an automatic gratuity, often about 10% tacked onto the bill. These should be listed on the menu.

Choosing to rent out a home? Sites like Air B-N-B and VRBO advertise prices without adding cleaning fees or even surcharges just for using the platform. For example, a two-night stay in Flagstaff had a $33 surcharge added to the final cost.

Some hotels charge resort fees for traditional hotels. Wyndham just settled a class-action lawsuit over it. But now, trying to book two nights at a Wyndham-owned Phoenix Days Inn, you're hit with a $14 service fee. That's for booking on their own site!

Remember to read the fine print. Ask hotels to waive the fees.

Also, if you need cash while out and about, most banks have an app to point you to the closest in-network ATMs. They won't charge you to access your own money.