Experts Warn Of 'Gray Charges' When Paying Online, Over The Phone

Monday, April 29th 2013, 9:42 pm
By: News 9

If you purchase things on the internet or over the phone, you should probably pay closer attention to your monthly financial statements.

Experts say what are called "Gray Charges" are costing American consumers an average of $350 a year.

Gray Charges are found on cable TV bills, and all kinds of subscriptions.

"They're tricky, they're tricky the way that they do this, and you have to be paying attention," said Tracy Ann Miller of Red River Advisors. "It's brazen. There are companies that just keep charging people for stuff they don't want."

Gray Charges are fees that are legal, and companies charge consumers because those people either don't realize it, or they don't make a stink about it, because it can be as little as a few bucks here or there.

There are five Types.

  • Unknown Subscriptions or things you didn't realize you just bought.
  • Zombie Subscriptions. Things you thought you canceled, but they came back from the dead.
  • Auto-Renewals, you didn't realize are still active.
  • Free To Paid. Which means if you think you're getting something free, you're not.
  • Cost Creep. Your cable bill comes to mind.

Accounting Software salesman Jon Ritchey says especially careful of infomercials.

"Whenever you call, they'll offer you all kinds of stuff, where as if you're not careful, you will sign up for a bunch of their stuff," Ritchey said.