Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Gripe of the Day: The Fine Print

It's been awhile since I've griped about something (not a word out of you, Drapo) :-) so I figured I'd post a rant about one of the things in every day life that drives us fucking crazy and rightfully so. The fine print.

I'm using this broad term to describe any situation where you find yourself parting with money for reasons unbeknownst to you, but apparently completely justified because they appear somewhere in the universe in teeny tiny unreadable unfindable letters. I've had a run of bad luck recently with a few things, and I thought I'd share them here just to show how completely ridiculous companies can be and yet, somehow get away with it.

Case #1: The cell phone. When my current cell phone was conking out, I went to get a new one. I was an AT&T customer, and since then, they'd changed over to Cingular. I'd have to get a new plan, a Cingular one. Okay. But I was eligible for a free phone. Sounds good. I get the new plan and the new phone. Superb. Only I quickly find out the cell phone sucks. It doesn't work in a lot of places, including the apparently remote time square. And no service when I was upstate in Woodbury Commons! I start going to stores to see what I can do to switch my phone, but guess what? There's no way to switch your phone once you get it! So I end up paying $250 (full price) for a good phone - which of course I lost about a month later. The lesson? Cell phone companies suck. They give you crappy phones and then wait for you to toss it against a wall in frustration. Then when you have to buy a new one, they charge you full price. Grrrr.

Case #2: The cell phone bill. During the whole "You need a new cell phone contract" debacle, the guy that told me I had to switch from AT&T to Cingular apparently thought it would be funny to give me a contract that costs about double what I currently pay. So the first month I get a bill that's over $100 instead of the fifty I normally pay. I freak out and change it, but of course I still have to pay it. Fine. Then the next month my bill is about $30 more than usual, a "pro-rated" fee for changing my contract in the middle of the cycle. FINE. Then recently, when I switched to the new phone, it had all kinds of cool browser capabilities. I made the mistake of thinking I'd download some kind of a song ringtone. I ended up fooling around on two different ringtone sites, tried to download a couple of things, but they didn't work out. Couldn't get them to upload. But lo and behold, there's a $25 charge for these companies on the new cell phone bill. thanks guys. Really appreciate it. Grrrrr.

Case #3: The credit card. I had a balance on a credit card with high interest, so I figured I'd be fiscally responsible and switch it to a credit card with 0% interest. So I transfer the balance, and pat myself on the back for all the money I've saved. But on the first statement, there's a finance charge. I call to ask why and they say the 0% interest only applies to purchases, not to balance transfers. Apparently I should have read THE FINE PRINT. Jackasses. Thanks Amex for hiding the fact that the zero interest doesn't apply to balance transfers. Grrrrr.

Seriously, I hope I've gotten all my bad luck out of the way for the year. I've certainly learned a couple of valuable lessons. Always read the fine print!


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2:03 PM  
Anonymous Drapo said...


(Not a word, so I'm not disregarding your wishes for me to not say a word).

4:05 PM  

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