Watch Marketplace's season premiere, Canada’s Dumbest Charge, Friday Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador). Join the discussion on Twitter by using the hashtag #dumbcharge
From paying to receive a paper bill to getting charged for checking airline luggage, if there’s one thing that bothers many of us, it’s being nickel-and-dimed with add-on fees and dumb charges.
CBC Marketplace is on the hunt for the country’s dumbest fee. Canadians submitted more than 700 complaints about fees from across the country, expressing outrage at a huge variety of charges big and small.
Marketplace narrowed the submissions down to five fees that affect most Canadians. The five finalists will be announced on the season premiere, Canada’s Dumbest Charge, and viewers can vote for which fee takes the (dubious) top honour. (The special one-hour premiere airs on Friday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. / 8:30 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador. Join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #dumbcharge.)
While Marketplace was poring through the submissions, it came across some shocking fees that seemed especially outrageous. While these didn’t make the final five, here are some of the most ridiculous fees that Canadians are paying:
The fee you didn’t expect: Charged for takeout
Want those leftovers? One submission pointed to a local restaurant’s doggy-bag fee, charging people who want to get their uneaten food wrapped up to go.
“It's only $2, but [the restaurant] charges that much to take leftover food (not very good food) home,” the submission from Vancouver read.
The fee for doing (almost) nothing: Salad set-up fee
A woman from Edmonton called out a catering company that charged a “salad set-up fee” of $7.50.
“When I accompanied the catering staff to the room where we were setting up for a meeting, I watched the young man with the salad - he took the plastic wrap off the bowl, and walked away. I asked him if there was anything left to do for the salad "set-up" and he said "Nope." That was it. $7.50 to take the plastic wrap off a bowl of salad… hmmm…”
The fee that feels cruel: Permission fee to watch dog euthanization
Many people were especially upset when they were charged fees that seemed inappropriate or insulting. One man complained that when he took his dog to the vet to be euthanized, he was charged a fee because he wanted to be in the room for his pet’s last moments. That fee? $50.
The fee for absolutely every small cost: Staple and paperclip fee
One of the most ridiculous submissions takes nickel-and-diming to a new level. One man complained of being charged precise amounts for every office supply his lawyer used.
“[I was] charged separately for staples ($0.07 each) and paperclips ($0.12 each) on my legal bill for doing up a will.”
The simply unfair fee: Wheelchair taxi fee
One submission called out a cab company for charging extra to take his mobility equipment in the car.
“Taxis that charge $5.00 extra per trip because I use a wheelchair.”
(The special one-hour premiere of Marketplace, featuring Canada's Dumbest Charge, airs on Friday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. / 8:30 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador. Join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #dumbcharge.)