In today’s world, where consumers have unlimited choices and access to information within a few clicks, it is important for companies to provide honest and transparent services. However, there are still plenty of companies that choose to exploit their customers instead of earning their trust and loyalty.
Sadly, they do it right under consumer noses, and yet they somehow continue to stay in business for various reasons.
1. Funeral services
Funeral service providers are notorious for charging exorbitant prices during times of grief. They take advantage of the fact that people often do not have the energy or time to shop around for better deals, making it easy for them to inflate prices on items like coffins, flowers, and memorial services.
2. US Health insurance
Particularly in the US, the rising cost of healthcare has made it difficult for individuals and families to afford health insurance. In response, insurance companies have been known to increase premiums and deductibles while also denying coverage for necessary procedures or medications.
European countries with universal healthcare are always shocked at the prices Americans have to pay each month for a plan that literally doesn’t even cover their basic care. Paying hundreds a month only to have a deductible and services denied is definitely a unique American experience.
3. Cell phone providers
Cell phone providers are notorious for locking customers into long-term contracts with hidden fees and charges. They often lure in customers with attractive promotional rates, only to increase prices once the contract is up. In addition, they make it difficult for customers to switch providers by charging hefty cancellation fees.
4. Car Mechanics
While some car shops have been known to take advantage of uneducated customers, oil change companies like Jiffy Lube have come under fire for being caught charging customers for services that weren’t even done. They also often recommend unnecessary repairs, leading to customers paying more than they should.
Airlines are notorious for all kinds of frustrating practices that leave a bad taste in consumers’ mouths. From price hiking with the use of brower history (cookies), to overbooking flights and then asking for volunteers to give up their seats. And let’s not forget the constant delays, lost luggage, and poor customer service. It seems like there is no end to the ways airlines can rip off their customers.
6. Unaccredited “for profit” schools
Unfortunately, many students fall prey to the promises of unaccredited “for-profit” schools that charge exorbitant tuition fees and provide subpar education. These institutions often make false claims about job placement rates and fail to offer degrees or certifications that have any actual value for starting a career.
According to Wikipedia, the list of unaccredited schools in the US is shockingly high. Many of them are Christian colleges. Another famous university scandal is Trump University.
Multi-level marketing companies, also known as MLMs or pyramid schemes, often target vulnerable individuals looking for a way to earn extra income. They require members to pay for expensive startup kits and products to sell, but the real money is made through recruiting others into the scheme. As a result, many people end up losing more money than they make.
Sadly, companies like Amway and Herbalife have been called out on this, but they continue to thrive.
8. Computer Repair Shops
Similar to car mechanics, computer repair shops have been known to charge exorbitant prices for simple fixes or even recommend unnecessary repairs. For example, popular companies like the Geek Squad at Best Buy have been accused of taking advantage of customers who are not tech-savvy and rely on their expertise, leaving them vulnerable to high charges.
9. Diet products
Weight loss and diet products have become a booming industry, with companies targeting vulnerable individuals who are desperate to lose weight. These products often make false claims about their effectiveness and can be harmful to one’s health. The worst part is that these companies continue to profit off of people’s insecurities who are looking for a magic pill.
10. Cable and Internet Providers
Cable and internet providers are notorious for providing subpar services while charging high prices. They often require customers to sign long-term contracts and have hidden fees that are not disclosed upfront. Customers need to pay close attention to their monthly bills to make sure prices aren’t suddenly rising.
Taxis have long been known for overcharging customers, especially tourists. They often take longer routes or add additional charges to the fare without any justification. With the rise of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, consumers now have more affordable and transparent options.
12. Car dealerships
Car dealerships often lure in customers with attractive promotional deals, only to tack on hidden fees and charges once the deal is finalized. They also have been known to take advantage of customers who may not be well-informed about cars and their true market value.
Without an idea of what you want before buying a car, you might also find yourself being convinced to upgrade to some of the latest shiny models.
Diamonds are infamous for their inflated prices and unethical business practices (exposed as blood diamonds). Many diamond companies have been accused of exploiting workers in developing countries and artificially controlling the supply to maintain high prices.
14. Extended warranties
Coined as “legal scams,” extended warranties are often pushed onto customers when purchasing expensive electronics or appliances. However, they usually end up being a waste of money as most products come with a manufacturer’s warranty and rarely break down within the extended warranty period.
15. Car rental companies
Car rental companies are notorious for upselling unnecessary insurance and charging hidden fees. Many customers have experienced unexpected charges on their credit card long after returning the car, leading to disputes and frustration.
16. Brand name medications
Pharmaceutical companies often charge exorbitant prices for brand-name medications, even though there are more affordable generic versions available. This puts a strain on unaware individuals who require certain medications but cannot afford the high costs. Consumers can always ask for alternative options when they are struggling to afford them or want to have a price comparison explained to them.
17. Wedding anything
The wedding industry is a billion-dollar business that preys on the pressures and emotions of couples planning their special day. From expensive venues to overpriced wedding dresses, photographers, and catering services, there seems to be no end to how much people are willing to pay for their dream wedding.
If you are planning a wedding but want to avoid the exorbitant prices, people often will order “generic” flowers, cake, and decorations without revealing the true reason for them.
18. College textbooks
Many students end up spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars per semester on books that they may never use again. Then, they resell them for pennies before they’re sold again for their original price (or they can’t even resell them because a new edition is released every year). Fortunately, there are now more affordable options, such as renting or buying digital versions of textbooks.
Professors are sometimes called out since they promote certain books, or even their own, for their own financial gains.
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JayDee Vykoukal is a writer, author, mom, and Doctor of Physical Therapy. She has been writing about everything motherhood and health-related since 2018 when her first daughter was born, and she wanted to stay home. She loves to research new topics and fun facts with her kids to teach them about the world.