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Book Review: Gotcha Capitalism – How Hidden Fees Rip You Off Every Day, and What You Can Do About It

Bob Sullivan’s Gotcha Capitalism – How Hidden Fees Rip You Off Every Day, and What You Can Do About It is an easy-to-follow, comprehensive and handy guide to identifying extra fees and overcharges that consumers can sometimes successfully dispute.  At his estimate of almost $950 in such charges per year, reading the book is a small investment to pay to be a savvy consumer. 

I found most helpful the template letters and summary list of which industries are most amenable to customer complaints.

Sullivan is very honest about the time investment you often need to make to seek redress, and he speaks of the larger issue about principle and creating a fairer society.  But at an annual savings of about $950 to fight these fees (solving the larger issues are of course worth many times this but hard to quantify to the individual) I became inspired to earn so much money that I wouldn’t care about these fees.  There are many Millionaire How-To studies that show that wealthy people track their money diligently and question extraneous charges, so perhaps I am wrong to try and “earn” my way out of caring.  But at least when I am focused on earning rather than fighting, I get the upside of moving towards a positive goal that has benefits beyond the cushion against unfair charges.  This seems to me the more optimistic approach.


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