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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Big Business - Stop Telling Us About Surcharge Fees!

What ever happened to the good old days when companies raised their prices and didnt bother to tell us why or for what? What is with all the surcharge fee disclosure?

It seems that corporate America and a few enterprising local government authorities are disclosing that consumers are paying more for certain reasons. American Airlines and United Airlines have instituted checked baggage fees and some local police departments are adding fuel surchages to speeding tickets. Why are they giving names to new fees?

Has everyone forgotten how to raise prices? I remember when companies needed to make more profits they would raise prices in a way that Joe Consumer would accept without complaint. But adding fees for services that use to be free causes outrage and upoar. The whole checked baggage fee issue has created a public relations debacle.

It would have been a lot smarter if the eggheads over at American and United simply increased the cost of airfare across the board. Most people do not know how the cost of their airfare until they start searching for flights. An extra added $15 or $30 to a ticket would not have raised eyebrows. Anyone who flies at least once a year knows that the cost of an airline ticket varies based on the time of day, how far in advance you book etc.

Creating a new charge for checking bags only adds insult to injury. With over 40 years of free checked baggage, we all have an entitlement attitude about checked baggage. The same goes for food service on planes. Free beverages, snacks and meals have been a pleasant perk. No one wants to pay $2 for something that has been free for years. Like hotels charge "resort fees", airlines could have added a "hospitality fee" to the price of airfare and no one would have been the wiser.

I urge big business and police authorities to stop announcing new fees. Be smart, raise the cost of our tickets and keep all the reasons to yourself -- it is better for your brand and business.

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