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There must be a thousand rackets out there to fleece consumers out of their hard-earned dollars. Everybody gets ripped off. It’s nothing to boast about but I’ll admit to being a victim to half of these scams. We’ve tried to whittle it down to the dirty dozen - the ones that should be considered high crimes and misdemeanors - highway robbery by any other name. OK, a few of these might not rise to that level, but they'll still put a dent in your wallet.
1. Pay Day Loans
When you annualize the rates and the fees, Pay Day Loans can accrue at rates as high as 700%. A few short decades ago, charging these astronomical rates was considered criminal activity. Now they're marketed as a "convenient service" for people struggling paycheck to paycheck. Right, the only thing these things help is to keep people in a cycle of debt.
2. Check Cashing
9 million American households don’t have checking or savings accounts and when they need to cash their paychecks - they can end up paying stiff fees. Of course, when you consider late charge and overdraft fees, even the Pay Day rackets make banks look like the Cosa Nostra.
3. Currency Exchanges
It's all about location, location, location. Avoid them at airports and anywhere in Paris. If you're ever in a mood to be swindled, change currency at an airport. Not only is the spread between the buy and sell price ridiculously wide, they’ll charge you outrageous transaction fees to boot. Many credit cards also tag on unreasonable fees when you use them to withdraw cash. Word to the wise, when you're travelling abroad, use your debit card for cash withdrawals and your credit card for everything else. And the Parisians? They have a real knack for ripping off tourists with those currency exchange kiosks - especially the ones near major attractions.
4. Extended Warranties
Just say no. If you’ve done your research, the regular warranties are sufficient. Whether you’re talking about electronics or a car, if there’s a major defect or something malfunctioning - you’ll usually find out about it while the standard warranty is still active.
It’s hard for me to even discuss this business because it’s so shady. Rent last year’s model of TV and have the right to buy it for three times the current price after paying 24 months of outrageous fees. Yeah, that’s sounds like a good deal. Rent-A-Centers are the first refuge of a sucker.