Being “robbed” at home while traveling the World!

How service providers increase charges and fees under our noses!

June 2012 was the last time I worked in an office and have gradually ended up traveling the World full time. I recently looked into my bank transactions in more detail and realised that most companies, especially where I had a direct debit, had increased their charges by up to 200% in just a few years! These companies include my:

  • Bank,
  • House Insurance,
  • Mobile Phone provider,
  • Land Line provider
  • Health Insurance
  • Credit Cards

The most extravagant of these cases was my House Insurance. The fees had gradually doubled, so I went to see what is included in my policy. To my surprise, I realised that comparing to the two packages they are currently selling, I had the worse one, but I was paying double the fees of the better package! Their sales person suggested that I cancel my existing policy and buy a new one. I did this and now I have a better policy with the same company, while paying half the money!

Another surprise was in my Health Insurance fees, which had increased by 200% since 2010. When I called the company, they blamed the government! No other explanation given. Unfortunately, so far I have had no time or appetite to check for alternative providers.

Funnier was the case of my Mobile Phone provider. I realised that the itemised bill mentioned a fee for “not paying via direct debit”. When I confronted the provider about it, their employee said “ah, I can reduce this”, and she just reduced the fees by 80%, without giving any explanation on why they had been overcharging me all this time!

All in all, I discovered similar issues with my Credit Cards (I was being charged “protection fees” for protection I never asked for and which they knew I did not need, so I got a refund when I brought it up), my Land Line (fees up by 50%), Bank (they started charging fees in one of my Bank accounts a few years ago) and a few other service providers.

Traveling full time in different time zones makes it difficult to closely monitor all financial transactions in bank statements or to call companies, and a number of them seem to take advantage of this carelessness of which I was admittedly guilty. Having to spend a few days in London this September (in order to get a visa for my next trip) was a good opportunity to take time and sort out things, and I definitely recommend other full-time travellers or other ultra-busy professionals, to occasionally do the same.

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2 thoughts on “Being “robbed” at home while traveling the World!

  1. Ah, this is your home away from home – the blog 🙂 I’m visiting your home to say ‘hi.’ I like the reminders you have here about finances. I agree. It’s one of the hassles of being away from home for an extended period of time. As a hiker/trekker, the extra challenge is the lack of wifi on the trails. So, one must ensure all finances are sorted out before the trek. I think the upside of being back “home” or stationed somewhere for a bit of time is to be able to take care of the bills etc. On extended travels, every penny saved helps so we ought to be more mindful of such things for our own interests.

    Liked by 2 people

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