Gotcha Capitalism

How Hidden Fees Rip You Off Every Day-and What You Can Do About It

By Bob Sullivan
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345496133, 368pp.)

Publication Date: December 26, 2007

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What is Gotcha Capitalism?

Coughing up $4 fees for ATM transactions. Iron-clad cell phone contracts you can’t get out of with a crowbar. Paying big bucks for insurance you don’t need on a rental car or forking over $20 a day for supposedly “free” wireless internet. Every day we use banks, cell phones, and credit cards. Every day we book hotels and airline tickets. And every day we get ripped off.
How? Here are just a few examples of how big business can get you:

• You didn’t fill up the rental car with gas?
Gotcha! Gas costs $7 a gallon here.
• Your bank balance fell to $999.99 for one day?
Gotcha! That’ll be $12.
• You miss one payment on that 18-month same-as-cash loan?
Gotcha! That’ll be $512 extra.
• You’re one day late on that electric bill?
Gotcha! All your credit cards now have a 29.99% interest rate.

But not for much longer. In Gotcha Capitalism, MSNBC.com’s “Red Tape Chronicles” columnist Bob Sullivan exposes the ways we’re all cheated by big business, and teaches us how to get our money back–proven strategies that can help you save more than $1,000 a year.

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