Silly taxes and surcharges on many of my bills

Oct 29, 2007

One thing that I’m having a hard time with in the U.S. is that the price of something is not what you’ll end up paying for it. A minor version of this is that tax gets added to your amount in retail stores on top of what you see on the price tag. It’s sort of weird to a European, but OK, I can live with that.

But then, it gets much more silly. Just look at this bill which is when I bought my plane ticket to Toronto. (Yes, to be fair, it was Air Canada so strictly speaking it’s not the U.S., but many of the fees here are U.S.-related.)

So the basic airfare was $360, and on top of that, I got $100 of more or less hilarious/tragic taxes and fees. (And I know these extra taxes and too little transparency is a general problem in the aviation worldwide with all the fuel surcharges and airport taxes etc, but this is much worse than anything that I have ever seen.)

For example, what the hell is U.S Agriculture Fee???? And why do I have to pay it when I’m flying from Pittsburgh to Toronto? I’m going to sit in a plane, not plough a field, for chrissakes!!!

Or look at this AT&T bill. They keep advertising the iPhone plan as $59.99. Whereas you’ll actually get charged ten dollars more. In my world, that qualifies as deceptive business.

There are good sides to this bill as well… you’ll notice that the scrollbar is huge and it goes on and on, because it lists each individual data connection. The good side, of course, is that I didn’t end up getting it on paper like some other people :P