Is it just me, or do any of you think fuel surcharges have become a way of life for some companies?
Recently, after the trash company we use increased its fuel surcharge for a fourth time I decided to shop around for a new service. (OK, it wasn't just the rising cost, customer service was also severely lacking. They often didn't show up for no reason, leaving my garbage to become a science project on the curb.)
Gas prices go up and down but the fuel surcharges … they just keep coming. They started showing up big time last year on many of my bills; but initially I figured they'd disappear once crude oil prices started to slip. I know, prices for gas are still high, but do these firms just pocket the money when the numbers drop at the pump.
As a self-employed individual, I'm being squeezed like a not-so-juicy lemon.
You see, I'm a freelance writer. I cannot charge my editors more money every month or so because crude oil prices are obscene. The companies I write for seem to be fair and understanding, but they don't give a hoot if I'm paying double to fill up my gas tank.
While oil executives, economists and consumer groups are debating the ridiculous price of crude -- and the surcharges those prices supposedly cause -- I'm left, like so many business owners to eat the increases. A recent survey by the National Association for the Self-Employed, found that 74 percent of those polled said that high gas prices were indeed hurting their business.
So, why the heck do businesses, everyone for delivery companies to airlines, keep surcharging us out the wazoo?
There was a great article on surcharges on Slate.com last year titled "The Fuel Surcharge Scam."
"Fuel surcharges more and more seem as if they're just an au courant way of raising prices, while duping customers into thinking they're not paying more," the author surmises.
Is it all about just getting ever last drop of money they can?
Some firms have definitely tried to use it to their advantage.
Indeed, British Airways pleaded guilty last month to price fixing fuel charges. The Department of Justice said: "In 2004, British Airways' fuel surcharge for round-trip passenger tickets was around $10 per ticket. By the time the passenger conspiracy was cracked in 2006, the surcharge was nearly $110 per ticket–a 10-fold increase."
Man, I'd be rolling in the dough if I could boost my rate 10-fold.
What's your take on this? Do any of you charge surcharges? If so, why?
And for those of you on the other end, how have these surcharge impacted your bottom line?