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November 02, 2021

What do you overpay for?

Part of being a consumer in 2010 is having to overpay for stuff. That’s just the way it is.

And it’s that way because part of business in 2010 is trying to find ways to gouge the consumer. Come up with a means to overcharge your customer base in a subtle way that won’t have them running for the hills and the bucks will simply roll in.

This pisses us off – and it should – but it doesn’t mean we necessarily do much about it. Chances are, you knowingly overpay for, say, your cell phone plan or cable TV service without much of a fuss. But, what do we overpay for most?

Certainly, the above mentioned telecom bills are what most Canadians would admit to knowingly overpaying for, yet has come up with a handy top 10 for a few other prime culprits.

Their list, in no particular order:

1) Gift cards
2) Home closing costs
3) Chequing accounts
4) Groceries
5) Cable TV and Internet
6) Cell phone plans
7) Long distance calls
8) Greeting cards
9) Water
10) Jeans

Can’t say I understand that last entry, but let’s pick on the telecom companies a bit more here. The trifecta of over-priced cable TV/Internet, cell phone plans and long distance calls has to be the number one wallet-drainer in Canada.

And with each of the three, there’s an evident cost-cutting fix we just, for whatever reason, choose not to do: with cable TV and Internet, we can bundle our services or, if we had any smarts, buy our cable/satellite receivers instead of paying as much as $20 a month to rent; with cell phone plans, haggling for a better plan with a customer service rep isn’t glamorous – nor is restructuring your plan so you’re not going way over on expensive daytime minutes – but it works in almost all cases; with long distance calls, if we just had the presence of mind to get a calling card or take the radical route of using Skype or other VoIP services, we could save a ton.

Sound familiar? Tragically, it probably does, for you and for me. Yet which consumer item are you most guilty of overpaying for?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...