Don’t Get Ripped Off: 11 Types of Companies to Watch Out For

The current shopping landscape can sometimes feel tricky., with many businesses failing to prioritize their customers, hiding behind confusing prices and less-than-transparent services. Here are 11 types of businesses with a reputation for questionable practices, plus some tips to help you avoid unnecessary costs.


The airline industry frequently charges extra for everything from checked bags to extra legroom. While some fees are unavoidable, being strategic about how you book and what you bring on board can help keep costs down. 

Also, don’t forget to leverage travel rewards effectively—they can offer valuable savings in the face of relentless up-charges.

Internet Service Providers

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are essential in our hyper-connected world, but they can also be masters of illusion. Advertised lightning-fast speeds can turn out to be more of a dream than reality. Also, trying to get assistance from customer service can seem like an endless loop with no clear resolution.

It’s wise for customers to frequently check their internet speeds and hold their providers accountable when services don’t match up with what was promised.

Credit Card Companies

Credit card companies can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, they offer convenience and rewards. On the other, they can change the rules of the game overnight with interest rate hikes and credit limits. 

Staying on top of your statements and understanding the terms of your credit card can help mitigate these surprises.

Car Dealerships

Car dealerships have long been the stuff of consumer nightmares, often portrayed as the ultimate hustlers. While many dealerships operate with integrity, there are enough stories of title washing and obscured fees to keep any buyer on their toes. 

To be on the safe side, do your homework on the vehicle’s history and understand the financing terms front to back. 


Large upscale gyms offer a variety of facilities aimed at helping you achieve your fitness goals, but be cautious of memberships that may include fine print. Watch out for long-term commitments, unexpected charges, and difficult cancellation processes. 

Considering month-to-month memberships or exploring local community centers could offer more flexibility and save you money in the long run.

Health Insurers

While health insurance is crucial for your well-being, it’s also a complex mix of deductibles, premiums, and exceptions that can be hard to navigate. The sector often faces backlash for its unclear pricing and policies that can result in hefty costs for consumers. 

Familiarizing yourself with your policy details and shopping around during open enrollment periods can help ensure you’re getting the best possible coverage for your money.

Cable Companies

As more people cut the cable cord, it’s worth remembering why this exodus began. Cable companies have a notorious reputation for burying fees in the fine print and hiking prices with little to no improvement in service. 

If you’re still using a cable, carefully reviewing your bill and being prepared to either negotiate or cancel your service can protect you from extra costs.

Quick-Lube Shops

These places lure you in with the promise of speed and convenience—get your oil changed unbelievably fast. 

However, the real mechanics of these operations often involve aggressive upselling. 

The Services You Didn’t Know You “Needed” 

Before you know it, what was supposed to be a basic service has ballooned into a full-scale intervention on your vehicle, with recommended services you didn’t know you “needed.” 

The trick here is to know your car’s maintenance schedule and not be swayed by high-pressure sales tactics.

Wireless Phone Providers

Sometimes, it feels like wireless phone providers are more focused on complicating things. With contracts filled with fine print and vague terms about data usage and service caps, it’s easy for customers to end up paying more than expected. 

Careful comparison of plans and thorough contract review can help you get the necessary service without unnecessary extras.

Subscription Boxes

Subscription box services, from Birchbox to Loot Crate, promise a monthly dose of excitement delivered to your door, offering everything from gourmet foods to beauty products. However, the novelty can wear off, leaving you with items you don’t need or want. 

Review subscriptions regularly to ensure they still bring joy and value, and don’t hesitate to cancel those that don’t.

Funeral Homes

Discussing funeral homes in the context of consumer rip-offs feels uncomfortable, but awareness is necessary. At a time when families are most vulnerable, some establishments may guide them towards the most expensive options. 

Asking for a price list upfront and knowing your rights can help ensure that your loved one’s farewell doesn’t add to the emotional burden with financial strain.

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