updated 12/19/2007 8:48:30 PM ET 2007-12-20T01:48:30

Coughing up $4 fees for ATM transactions. Iron-clad cell phone contracts you can’t get out of with a crowbar. Paying big bucks for insurance you don’t need on a rental car or forking over $20 a day for supposedly “free” wireless internet. Every day we use banks, cell phones, and credit cards. Every day we book hotels and airline tickets. And every day we get ripped off.
How? Here are just a few examples of how big business can get you:

• You didn’t fill up the rental car with gas?
Gotcha! Gas costs $7 a gallon here.
• Your bank balance fell to $999.99 for one day?
Gotcha! That’ll be $12.
• You miss one payment on that 18-month same-as-cash loan?
Gotcha! That’ll be $512 extra.
• You’re one day late on that electric bill?
Gotcha! All your credit cards now have a 29.99% interest rate.

But not for much longer. In Gotcha Capitalism, MSNBC.com’s “Red Tape Chronicles” columnist Bob Sullivan exposes the ways we’re all cheated by big business, and teaches us how to get our money back–proven strategies that can help you save more than $1,000 a year.

Excerpted from GOTCHA CAPITALISM by Bob Sullivan.  Copyright (c) 2007  by Bob Sullivan.  Reprinted by arrangement with The Random House Publishing Group.

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Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 4.36%
$30K home equity loan FICO 5.07%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.50%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 10.96%
10.86%
Cash Back Cards 16.48%
16.41%
Rewards Cards 15.99%
15.95%
Source: Bankrate.com