Fees and Penalties

Remember that great expression from your local video store

“Be Kind, Rewind”

Back then, some places even charged a penalty if you didn’t rewind your VHS tape. Interesting that this fee went away, but that is because the entire “VHS Rental” business disappeared. That sounds like a fairly sarcastic commentary, but how many fees disappear?

VHS Tape

I will bet there are readers who have never used one of these

  • My home telephone bill (yes I still have a land line) had a “Touch Tone” charge on it (up until July 2015), but if I tried to use a rotary phone I get nasty remarks from Bell, pointing out the technology really isn’t supported any more. The fee finally went away after Bell was shamed into removing it by the CBC.
  • How about that fun “paper charge” if you still got your bill mailed to you? Wasn’t that Green and cool? That went away (mostly) after the Government said they were not allowed. I actually can see why that charge was there.
  • Account fees for day-to-day banking continues at most major banks, even though many smaller banks offer free banking (PC Financial, Tangerine and others), yet we continue to pay for the services at major banks? Michael James has pointed out that eventually the Major Banks will take a dive and may finally stop charging these fees? Nah, never gonna happen.
  • On line trading fees started at $29.95 and it has dropped steadily since (and is around $9.95 or lower). Since I am pretty sure the trading houses are still making money on this, it does make me wonder how low could these fees go?
  • The airline industry seems to have completely built their profit structure around service fees, gas fees, take off fees, sitting in nice seat fees, not getting broken cookie fees, etc.,etc.,. and not many of those fees are going away. Aren’t they charging for carry on luggage now?

Are there any fees that may go away some time soon? I can’t think of many (maybe gas taxes once gas cars go away). Pretty sure overdraft fees will never go away.


{ 5 comments… add one }
  • LifeInsuranceCanada.com May 9, 2016, 5:25 PM

    Home phone? 2 comments.

    1) Dude, really. Home phone? You’re spending money on a bell home phone. Everyone has a cell phone, the landline is arbitrary, and expensive.
    2) if you’re really going to keep a landline, then you need to buy an ATA (you can get them for a few $10 bills) and go voip. That’ll eliminate long distance charges as well as that horrible monthly Bell bull.

  • Robert M May 2, 2016, 11:27 AM

    My favourite fee is the embedded 2.5% Management Expense Ratio of most mutual funds. I have been able to take that down to under 0.5% by using ETFs. This is one of those fees that should become very visible when CRM2 goes live at the end of the year.

    I have to agree with you about the airline fees. This is what happens when you have a “race to the bottom” on price. It is getting absolutely ludicrous. I am surprised that they don’t charge for the washrooms. Although the washroom often has more space than my seat!


    • bigcajunman May 2, 2016, 11:37 AM

      You and me, young Master Robert, are not designed to fit in a mass transit vehicle (Plane, Bus, Monorail, etc.,), the only way I fit in a plane is Biz Class (and I am not paying for that).

  • Michael James May 2, 2016, 10:33 AM

    The big banks are unlikely to reduce their fees any time soon, but the new fin-tech competitors with their much lower cost structure will be able to compete on price. We see this with Tangerine checking accounts that charge no fees and even pay a tiny bit of interest. Interestingly, even though Tangerine got bought up by a big bank, they still don’t charge fees (for now). Having to buy up every low-fee upstart will become expensive for big banks and it also just encourages other upstarts.

    • bigcajunman May 2, 2016, 10:46 AM

      I suspect Tangerine may add fees slowly for now. PC Financial’s back-end is a Big Bank (CIBC right now?) one of those head scratchers about why PC Fin are free, but CIBC account isn’t?


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