By Ann Sullivan
Technology advancement is ever creating better features in our lives. From cars to phones to computer software, it seems every day brings some new version or update of one thing or another. The question is, how much is it really costing us? According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, as reported in U.S. News, the average American spends as much as 17% of their monthly mortgage or rent cost on keeping up with technological advancements. This may not even include all the gadgets and services you use. Add to the costs, the inconvenience of continually having to update or upgrade, and it can cut into your time as well. If you’re someone who feels like it’s all too much, read on to find out exactly how technology can drive you broke (and crazy!)
1) Hidden Taxes & Fees
Nowadays, every company seems to try to get all the business they can from you. When you purchase something, such as software or Internet services, often you get hit with another offer to upgrade or bundle services. The “flypaper” is the “free version” when it comes to computer maintenance software, for example. Internet services will give you a great introductory offer for the first year to bundle your television and phone. Most people don’t pay attention to when that initial offer expires. That’s when you get that large bill, or automatic debit from your bank account, you didn’t expect. Add to that, there are hidden taxes and fees built into the prices of these services. Therefore, your bill is higher than what you signed up for. It’s not always easy, but it’s advisable to read the “fine print” and “user agreements” before purchasing any service or software.
2) Confusing Billing
It seems to be a trick of the trade when it comes to confusing consumers about their bill. That’s where they get you. You signed up for a service at an introductory price, and it’s surprisingly higher when the bill arrives. Then, you look at the bill trying to decipher what you’re paying for and more confusion ensues. You can’t make heads or tails out of their billing. Then there’s the old trick of when you try to login to your account and their system is undergoing maintenance, and your account information is not accessible at this time! That’s enough to drive anyone nuts. It’s bad enough you have to pay that unexpected high bill. It’s infuriating when you can’t get into your account to pay it. Add to that, now you’re late and, you guessed it! A late charge has now been added on top of it all!