3 Ways to Avoid Getting Overcharged

By Beth Kobliner, REDBOOK

It happens all the time to people who don't check their receipts. Watch out for these likely culprits.

1. Cell shock

One in five people have spotted an unexpected charge on a cell phone bill in the last year, says Consumer Reports. And a new lawsuit claims that AT&T has up-charged some iPhone users by 300 percent. Read your statement line by line and make sure any fluctuations are accounted for.

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2. Checkout scams

Investigators in California recently found that stores including Rite Aid, Whole Foods Market, and Banana Republic charged customers higher prices at the register than what was marked on the shelves, often because checkout scanners aren't updated regularly with sale prices. If a manager won't honor a shelf price, contact your state's consumer protection office at consumeraction.gov.

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3. B.S. bank fees

Did $10 or $25 mysteriously vanish from your checking account? You could be paying for services, like "extended overdrafts," that you didn't even know existed. Bank disclosure docs can be over 100 pages long (let's face it - no one reads those things), so go to your bank and ask for a concise rundown of fees in person. Even if banks don't want to, they must provide it.

REDBOOK's money expert, Beth Kobliner, is the author of Get a Financial Life and is on the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability.

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