Some industries are renowned for charging clients ridiculous fees for things that don’t even cost…

It’s a gouge.

It’s a clip.

It’s an unnecessary impost.

Credit card surcharges

In this day and age, nearly every client pays by credit card.

In fact, I’ve been noticing recently how sales agents automatically assume that you are going to pay by card and push the terminal right there into your “space” without even asking whether you will be using cash…

And with the machine, the bill now comes with an automatically added credit card surcharge, without even asking.

But having a credit card merchant facility is an everyday cost of doing business, just like rent and utilities.

Why should businesses be allowed to “pass the merchant fee on”?

Why can’t businesses just suck it up and allow for it, without trying to look like a hero?

And especially when you are paying for a product or service online… there’s no other way to do it other than use a card?

Getting a “treatment” at the hairdressers…

Getting a conditioning treatment or hair mask at the hairdressers can often seem like a lifesaver for dry and damaged hair.

But according to Leo Izquierdo, co-founder of IGK hair salons & IGK Hair Products, paying for a mask or conditioning treatment at the salon is “a waste of money” and buying the full product and doing it yourself at home is cheaper.

He said in an interview with the Sun Newspaper in the UK:

“In the salon I always give my clients a complimentary hair mask conditioning treatment with any service they come in for. I don’t have a conditioning treatment on the salon menu because it should be something salons do for their clients for free.”

Izquierdo went on to say:

“If anyone just wants a hair mask or conditioning treatment it’s a waste of their money to go to a salon, it’s much better to purchase the full product and do them at home more often.”

If your hair is in need of a little extra TLC though, “the best option is a cut followed by a good shampoo and conditioning home routine,” the celebrity stylist advised.

Lancashire hairdresser Celeste Arnold also told the Sun:

“If a hairdresser suggests you need a treatment always ask how much it will be as they can be quite expensive – and don’t assume they’re free, although they should be!”

Builders’ variations

A builder’s variation is a change or adjustment to what has already been agreed in the building contract between homeowners and their builder. The builder or tradesperson may need to vary the contract because of a council requirement or unforeseen circumstances, or because the customer changes their mind about something. If the reason for variation is the builder’s or tradesperson’s fault, customers do not have to pay for any extra work to rectify the problem.

Most building variations or additions to a contract have an impact on the contract price.

But some do not.

Documents authorising variations must contain a statement explaining the cost implications of the variation and their impact on the overall contract price. Calculation of the price change should be shown, rather than just a simple dollar amount.

Two questionable variations in building are:

  • Changes in choice of taps and plumbing from the “original plans” because the original plans usually include only very basic and unattractive tapware. The change of tapware almost always occurs well before the builder has needed to purchase the tapware. But he claims a “variation fee”.
  • Changes on the plans of the position of floor wastes [drains]. Usually, the paper plans for a house have floor wastes positioned arbitrarily by architects and draughtsmen in the centre of rooms, in lines of sight, or in standing areas [in front of sinks]. These off the plan amendments have no physical impact on the cost of plumbing. This fee is a pure gouge.

At your dental office…

At your dental office, are you accidentally participating in an industry gouge that is silently infuriating your patients?

Is there a surcharge on your services that your business would be better off not displaying?

Are you charging a surcharge fee for credit cards?

Are you charging for diagnostic photos?

And are you charging patients in advance for wax ups for large case presentations that are most likely to proceed?

Where possible, it’s always better for a business to absorb the fee silently into their pricings rather than announce it as an itemised extra.



Dr. David Moffet BDS FPFA CSP is a certified CX Experience coach. David works with his wife Jayne Bandy to help SME businesses improve their Customer Service Systems to create memorable World Class experiences for their valued clients and customers. Click here to find out how David and Jayne can help your business