Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Inconvenient Fee

It's Property Tax time in Georgia.  Oh, joy!  Regardless of any resentment or questions about value for money, it's time to pay.  As I normally do with bills, I went online to pay my property taxes.  Our local Govt. has a nice page so we can pay without the bother of writing checks or affixing stamps to envelopes and walking out to the mailbox. 

I went through the usual routine of entering all my information and debit card number.  I hit enter and get a 'review payment' page.  Nice touch.  It is there I noticed that there was a significant difference between the total I was paying and the actual tax bill. 

Reading through the darned thing, I discover a $58 'convenience charge'.  Convenience Charge?  $58?  I think not.  I already feel gouged by taxes and now they hope to get more with a convenience charge?  No, thank you.  I cancelled the order and am writing a check. 

The moral to the story is, always watch for hidden fees.  Some of them are doozies. 

In a related note, Suntrust Bank, where we keep our farming account has just announced the end of our free checking program.  We will be assessed a monthly fee if we don't maintain a minimum balance.  The problem is, we don't maintain anywhere near a $1k balance in that checking account.  We opened it for two reasons; 1. we want to keep our farm business as separate from our personal accounts as possible and 2. they offered us 'free checking'.  Well, now they've removed the 'r'. 

I have great news for Suntrust, we are going to make their administrative duties a bit easier.  We are closing our account.  That way they don't have to do all that adding and subtracting and fee assessing.  I'd rather have an account.  But I'm not paying fees for such a small regular balance.  So, we're going cash. 

Decision made.  As the radio commercial says, "Day one, living solid".  Much more solid without Suntrust fees.