Take Charge: Week of July 15

Welcome to this week’s digest of news about fine print, hidden fees and grey charges.

The Fine Print: That “Check” is an Unwanted Subscription!

When is a check not really a check? When it’s a sneaky subscription!

I know, I know … it sounds like a bad joke. But the people who were duped out of dozens or hundreds of dollars aren’t laughing.

You see, a major, well-known company (that shall go unnamed) decided to send its customers checks in the mail. Upon first glance, these look like rebate checks or rewards checks. The wording in the letter that accompanies the check indicates that the customers are getting a reward.

“A $10 check is a nice surprise,” the letter says. “Especially since it’s yours for just reviewing the benefits and privileges of this national savings network.”

Note that wording — its yours for just reviewing the information. Not for “signing up.” Not for “joining.” Not for anything that would lead you to believe that you’re launching a subscription.

But at the very, very bottom of the letter, in the Fine Print, it discloses: “Your credit card on file … will be automatically charged for the membership fee when you accept this offer.” In other words, you’re getting enrolled in a monthly subscription, and you didn’t even know it.

Shady, huh? We thought so, too. Read this article to see the details.

The Fine Print Isn’t Fine With Me

Both credit card companies and merchants can bury things in the fine print. Stay alert for these types of fine-print details within your credit card statements:

  • Rate increases.
  • Late payment fee increases.
  • Repayment date changes.
  • Other grey charges.

Read this post to discover more.

Tweets from Our Community

Last week, we shared this quote from popular radio show host and financial expert @DaveRamsey: “Having a plan with money doesn’t just help you right now, it also gives you vision and hope for the end goal.” We agree, Dave!

We also shared this article on Get Rich Slowly, a popular personal finance blog that attracts half-a-million visitors each month. The article highlights how weight loss can help your finances, and it’s written by Motley Fool writer Robert Brokamp. Check out the bottom of the post, where he discloses that he’s taken his pants off at several company meetings. (And just wait until you read how he announced the new company 401(k) match policy!)

Rich Litvin, who tweets as @ConfidenceGuy, asked his followers: “Have you used billguard.com ? What do you think of it?” We hope you like it — and let us know if you have questions!

Meanwhile, Tony Hue, who tweets as @tonykhue, said: “Remember how much you liked signing up for a Dropbox account using my referral link? Do the same with @Billguard!” Thanks for your enthusiasm, Tony!

Finally, Tom Brown, who tweets as @thatdesignkid, wrote: “Hi @BillGuard any word yet on support for UK banks?” We’re working on it! If you want BillGuard to protect you against grey charges in your country, let us know here, on our BillGuard My Country page!