Most Americans are in cell phone jail
Providers have worked hard to lock customers into losing situations
Cable TV: King of misleading come-ons
Companies focus on bottom line, not customer satisfaction
ISPs create tangled Web of sneaky fees
Companies use hidden charges to generate revenue in competitive industry
What is Gotcha Capitalism?
The hidden world of sneaky fees, and the end of the price tag
10 Tips: Beat 'Gotcha Capitalism'
New book by msnbc.com's Bob Sullivan features money-saving tips
About the author
Bob Sullivan writes the Red Tape Chronicles and covers Internet scams and consumer fraud for msnbc.com. His new book, based on the blog, is "Stop Getting Ripped Off: Why Consumers Get Screwed, and How You Can Always Get a Fair Deal."
So prepare yourself and don't ask obvious questions. Give them a run for this penny and then zero in on the main point of your call. Still, be polite, but remember they're out to get you.
How to beat hidden fees
Dec. 31: Bob Sullivan shares financial tips to protect yourself from hidden fees and gimmicks.
Beware of hidden online costs
Dec. 12: MSNBC.com's Bob Sullivan talks with MSNBC's Contessa Brewer about hidden costs that could be tacked onto your holiday online orders.