11 Outrageous Rip Offs Costing You £1000’s (And Their Fixes)

November 1st, 2012 - Posted by in Blog, Saving Money

Whether you know it or not, you overpay by loads and on many things. Sometimes, there’s little you can do about it, like say, VAT. You can’t contest it…it’s a necessity deemed so by law. But what about movie theatre popcorn? Did you know there’s an approximate 1000% markup on it? It costs a whopping 27p to make, yet you pay £5 for it.

There’s lots of ways your money’s being sapped out and here are 11 of them and what you can do to fix them.

Bottled Water – 141,000% markup on tap water

Enjoying that bottle of Evian on your desk? Well, considering you can go through your faucet and get the same water almost, you’re paying a 141,000% markup on a bottle of water that costs around 0.22p per litre to pour yourself, according to Which.co.uk.

Fix: If you must put your mind at ease about the water you drink (even though UK has some of the cleanest water in the world), put a Brita on your own faucet and use a reusable bottle to save yourself the majority of that 141,000% markup.

Texting – 6000% markup

UK is notorious for texting. Many mobile plans offer more texts than minutes. But did you know that it costs less than 1p to send that text? So a text that costs you 10p to send, puts a 6000% markup in the providers’ pockets.

Fix: Tweet to text – keep it to 140 characters and send everything in one message. The less you send, the less you spend. And buy them in packages that cover enough texts for your usage so you don’t go into overage charges.

Celebrity endorsed perfumes – 1000% markup

You want to smell good, right? And that fragrance by Antonio Banderas is exquisite, but is it worth a 1000% markup? We say no. Smelling good can come without such a hefty price tag.

Fix: Buy perfumes that are not endorsed by a celebrity and pay for the value of the perfume rather than paying the celebrity endorsement fees. And try a discount online perfume supplier like Half Price Perfumes.

Does Superfast Mean Supergood Broadband?

Ofcom says that 8% of UK homes have superfast broadband. And if you’re paying for more than 8Mbps broadband, unless you’re streaming movies or watching HD, you’re paying too much for service you don’t need. In addition, it’s likely that you’re not getting the full speed you’re paying for. Simply because you pay for 100Mb of speed, doesn’t mean that’s what you get. You could be getting considerably lower for your package than you should be paying for.

Fix: Go to this speed checker website and find out what you’re getting, then determine if you should make changes to your plan.

Organic Produce and Organic Price Tags

Buying organic produce means buying peace of mind that you’re providing the best sources of sustenance for your family. It also means you’re paying top dollar for many products you don’t need to pay top dollar for. For example, if you’re buying organic, then stick to the produce where it counts.

Fix: Buy these without the “organic” sticker: Onions, Sweet corn, Pineapples, Avocado, Cabbage, Sweet peas, Asparagus, Mangoes, Eggplant, Kiwi, Cantaloupe (domestic), Sweet potatoes, Grapefruit , Watermelon, Mushrooms, all the rest should be organic.

Double Cost Train Fares

Train fares are a markup of a different breed. Granted everything’s rising, so there’s little you can do about a system like the rail. However when you consider that you can pay £65 for a 300-mile journey or you can pay £147.50 for that same journey, that’s quite a markup for the cost of the ticket. Well, tickets in this case. It seems if you buy multiple destination tickets for the same journey, you can save a pretty pence.

Fix: Buy ahead, as the rail suggests, but don’t just go for the single destination ticket. Try it different routes before settling. And consider investing the one off fee for a railcard, it could pay for itself in the first journey.

Letting Fees – Why Pay Them?

Over 1100 people out of every 5000 renters are overcharged by their property owners, the Telegraph. Many are paying £150 for repeat credit checks each year, that cost between £8 and £25 to perform. That’s between 6 and 18 times more than the cost to run the check. In some cases, many were charged administration fees of over £500.

Fix: Seek properties that don’t require outrageous fees and don’t use a professional service to find your housing.

The Real Cost of Your Car

Yahoo reports that driving a car could cost you as much as £158,835 over the course of your driving lifetime. When you consider the price of the vehicle (of course this varies), road tax and petrol, over 42 years, the total is hard to swallow. This estimation was given by AA archivist and is based on a typical mid-range family vehicle.

Fix: Move closer to your work and trade your car for a bike. (Although, not a very fun alternative in the rain.)

To Hotel WiFi or Not to WiFi

Hotel Wifi cost is anywhere from £3.85 – £20 per day for wi-fi access that restaurants and pubs deliver free. With such a large markup, hotels (who often house business guests who need wi-fi) are making a most excellent pound on such a service.

Fix: Stay in hotels that offer free wifi, find yours here.

Pre-Prepared Vegetables Markup

Buying convenience foods costs you outrageous amounts of money for a small task you can take up yourself. For a bit of convenience, you’ll pay double the price (£1.00) for a few celery sticks in Tesco that you’d normally pay for the entire bunch. So you’re cutting the amount of meals or snacks down and pushing the price tag up.

Fix: Take the time to prepare your own veggies once a week, as soon as you bring them in and then you save prep time later and money now.

Bank Fees – Are They Avoidable?

You put your money in banks for them to use. And yet, if you run out of funds, they charge you more money. It was reported by uSwitch that over the course of six years, customers paid an average of £800 in fees. While you can’t expect to use the banks services for free, the fact that Lloyd’s can thrive and charge a one off charge of £30 instead of an ongoing fee per transaction says a lot about the other bank practices.

Fix: Save your pounds and put them in a bank that doesn’t charge exorbitant fees per transaction.

There you go, the big ripoffs to avoid. Get savvier, be happier!

What markups can you add to this laundry list?


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