Have you ever looked at your credit card bill and wondered, “What is this charge?”
Well, you’re not the only one. And these charges can be a real blow to your checkbook.
They're called 'gray charges' and consumers racked up over $14B worth of them last year alone. You sign up for a trial subscription to a service online and it rolls over into a paid subscription without you realizing it. It is legal. Financial planner Richard Rosso says some people just blow it off.
“I come across people who know this is happening but are so busy that they just let it go,” Rosso said.
Rosso says companies bank on you not paying attention to these charges.
“It gets covered up by all your other day-to-day expenses. It’s very stealth. You don’t see it,” he explained.
Many of these charges aren’t expensive. They average $14 to $20 apiece. However, they add up. On average you pay $215 a year in these charges. And Rosso says that should not happen.
“Make sure you have to handle these charges on your own. Never sign up for these gray charges. Even if it’s for computer security. Because you could wind up paying a fortune,” Rosso explained.
So what can you do if you get hit with these charges?
“You should call the vendor and try to get it taken care of. If that doesn’t work, call your credit card company and explain that it’s one of these recurring charges. As part of your service, they’ll take care of it for you,” Rosso stated.