Are You Being Charged A Hidden Coronavirus Fee? This Is What To Look For
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We discovered last year that consumers were being charged small extra fees by businesses such as hair salons and restaurants to cover the costs of PPE and sanitizing due to the . Now a new hidden fee has been found by senior living residents, who are noticing a surcharge of around $1,200 to cover extra food costs and cleaning, Friday.
Many of these businesses may be attempting to recover from the financial losses of by adding an extra charge to your bill. It's being called the "." The customer, however, is typically unaware of these charges until after they receive their bill.
Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 fees at salons, restaurants, medical facilities and other businesses.
What is a COVID-19 fee and why am I seeing it on my bill?
There have been reports of some businesses and medical facilities to customer bills and raising the prices on certain products, which raises the overall bill. You might see it as a new line item for a COVID fee.
Why is this happening? Operating costs might be higher for businesses now. For example, business owners may need to cover the cost of or provide customers with as a condition of entering, as they're mandatory across the country. The cost of regularly that are touched often could also be passed along to you.
The extra charge might also conceivably be used as a form of hazard pay to entice employees who are worried about prolonged exposure at their jobs, or a way for business owners to recoup some of the for months on end, as they deal with in the name of safety or local laws.
How do I find out if there's a 'coronavirus fee'?
If you're concerned about paying more for services than usual due to as a result of the coronavirus, we recommend that you call ahead and ask the businesses you're planning to visit if they charge an extra fee to cover any COVID-19 charges.
You can also ask for an itemized bill to see what the charges include, such as face masks for customers and sanitation supplies. After all, if the salon, dentist or restaurant you're going to is charging you a fee, it's important that it be transparent about what you're paying for.
Restaurants: Due to closing their doors for several months, and now only having limited capacity, many restaurants are still recovering. Also, many need help covering the costs of PPE for their employees, as well as additional cleaning they must do in order to keep the restaurant sanitized.
Senior living facilities: Some residents have noticed a COVID-19 fee on their bills that wasn't there before. That's to cover the cost of .
Dentist offices: Knowing that the coronavirus is , dentists are in one of the highest-risk groups of professionals. While dentists have always worn PPE, some have for better protection, which are more costly than the average face mask. Plus the exponentially.
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Can I avoid paying the fees?
Depending on what the fee is for, you may be able to avoid paying it. For example, if salons are providing face masks but charging customers for the convenience, you can bring your own to avoid the fee. In some cases, however, you may not be able to avoid the fee.
It's uncertain how long companies will be adding fees to bills to cover additional costs, and how widespread the practice may become. For more information, here's a . Also, here's .