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Don’t keep driving around with the fuel light on

Sky rocketing fuel costs resulting in surcharges, higher prices, with no way to tell what’s fair

Companies from many industries are adding fuel surcharges to or increasing the costs of what they sell.

Although Americans are cutting costs for food, gas, and vacations, little attention is being paid to many small and indirect ways consumers are paying for gas, according to the Washington Post article, “Consumer Pain Goes Beyond the Pump.” How fuel surcharges are calculated and carried out generally aren’t regulated.

Companies need to disclose to consumers upfront if a company intends to collect an added fee for fuel or energy.

Gaspump-2 Some examples of surcharges included in the article:

  • $10 for mowing a lawn.
  • $2 for delivering a pizza.
  • $1.70 to ship a package.
  • $1.58 to deliver groceries.
  • 1 cent to mail a letter.

Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines agreed to refund $61 million to customers who were billed for fuel surcharges after they booked their trips, the article states.

If a fuel surcharge hasn’t been disclosed to you or you think a price has been unfairly increased due to fuel costs, contact the Attorney General’s Office or the state agency in your state that handles consumer complaints. See the Web site of the National Association of Attorneys General for a directory of state offices.

Copyright 2008, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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