After years of being squeezed by hidden fees and surcharges that drive up the cost of everything from phone service to concert tickets, customers are fighting back. Just calling to complain satisfies
many people. Others use Internet sites such as Complaints.com, Planet Feedback.com, Callforaction.org and ConsumerXchange.com to help settle disputes.
If those channels fail, they turn to
the courts. Class-action lawsuits, with numerous plaintiffs, are the preferred choice because individual cases over small amounts of money aren't worth the legal costs and aren't profitable enough for
lawyers to pursue. A federal law that limited securities class actions by shareholders also has caused more lawyers to gravitate toward consumer cases.
Corporate America defends the
charges as a valid way to cover the cost of providing services and of meeting regulatory requirements, among other things. But problems arise when customers don't know what triggers the fees.
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