17 Types of Companies That Are Known for Ripping Off Americans

These companies are notorious for their price hikes and their hidden fees, making it difficult for customers to get out of contracts. Americans should do their research before giving their money to these 17 types of companies. Some of them are best avoided altogether.

Payday Loan Providers

Photo Credit: dcwcreations/Shutterstock.

NerdWallet writes, “Payday loans are small, expensive loans you repay all at once, typically on your next payday.” Payday loan providers charge exorbitant interest rates exceeding 400% annually, trapping often desperate borrowers in a cycle of debt.

Subscription Boxes

Photo Credit: Bondar Illia/Shutterstock.

Subscription box companies offer customers regular deliveries of boxes containing meal kits, personal care goods, and tech gadgets, among other products. However, they often make it challenging for customers to unsubscribe, making them jump through seemingly endless hoops.

Credit Repair Agencies

Photo Credit: Suradech Prapairat/Shutterstock.

Credit repair agencies are known for their questionable tactics, making false promises to customers desperate to improve their credit scores. They regularly charge high fees for their services, and even well-meaning companies struggle to improve credit scores because they can only dispute inaccurate credit report information.

For-Profit Colleges

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

In an opinion piece for the New York Post, John Stossel argues that “college is an overpriced scam,” noting that almost half of “students given loans don’t graduate even after six years.” Institutions often exaggerate employment prospects and salary potential to attract students, who often graduate with crippling student debt.

Timeshare Companies

Photo Credit: antoniodiaz/Shutterstock.

Ten million households in the U.S. own timeshares, properties with multiple owners. However, timeshare companies are known for their misleading, high-pressure sales tactics. CNBC writes that “owners often struggle to exit their contracts” and that “even after the timeshare is fully paid off, the owner is accountable for rising annual maintenance costs.”

Extended Warranty Providers

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

PCMag warns against wasting money on extended warranties, writing that “companies aren’t offering extended warranties out of altruism. They’re doing it because service plans make crazy amounts of money.” Warranties are often filled with exclusions that limit the company’s liability, offering consumers minimal protection.

Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Companies

Photo Credit: Drozd Irina/Shutterstock.

Multi-level marketing companies are infamous for their unsustainable business models and the financial loss most participants experience. Success stories promoted by these companies often lead to eager recruits working for next to no pay, and many MLMs are pyramid schemes.

Debt Settlement Companies

Man getting money from seller
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

While debt settlement companies can help debtors, they are infamous for their deceptive practices and long-term negative impact on customers’ credit scores. Experian warns of the risks posed by debt settlement companies, including “potential charge-offs, settlement company fees, possible scams, and the overall risk of settlement offers not working.”

Internet and Cable Providers

Photo Credit: SatawatK/Shutterstock.

Internet and cable customers are often surprised by hidden fees and sudden price hikes after initial promotional periods end. These providers are known to artificially inflate prices, making it harder for customers to purchase only what they need, and are infamous for their poor customer service.

Junk Fees in Various Industries

Photo Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock.

Hotels and resorts in the U.S. are infamous for adding undisclosed fees, for example, drinks in the mini-fridge, that can significantly increase the cost of a stay. Events selling tickets add excessive service and convenience fees that often amount to a high percentage of the original ticket price, ripping off Americans trying to watch their favorite artist.

Bottled Water Companies

Photo Credit: ericlefrancais/Shutterstock.

The Independent notes that Americans and Chinese consume the most bottled water and points to research that suggests “the stuff in a bottle is not better for you than the stuff in your tap.” Marketing and branding allow companies like Fiji and Evian to charge exorbitant prices for regular water.

Marketed Medicine

Photo Credit: Adul10/Shutterstock.

Marketed medicines are branded versions of much cheaper medicines with the same contents. The FDA explains that “a generic medicine works in the same way and provides the same clinical benefit as the brand-name medicine.”

Rental Car Companies

Photo Credit: J.AMPHON/Shutterstock.

Hertz, Enterprise, and Alamo are known for their insurance, pick-up, and reservation fees. The COVID-19 pandemic also caused supply chain issues when car rental companies sold parts of their fleets to stay in business, further inflating prices.

Convenience Stores

Photo Credit: O n E studio/Shutterstock.

Convenience stores will sell items for a much higher price than supermarkets, forcing consumers to pay a premium for their convenient location and long opening hours. Convenience store items are often of lower quality than those of their supermarket counterparts.

Mobile Games

Photo Credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.

Mobile games are infamous for their in-app purchases, making millions of dollars off children and teenagers. Parent Zone warns that “the techniques employed to monetize” people playing mobile games are “increasingly sophisticated—and sometimes cynical.”

Car Mechanics

Photo Credit: 4 PM production/Shutterstock.

Car mechanics are infamous for ripping their customers off, charging them for work their car doesn’t need, and sometimes charging them for work they didn’t do. Americans should learn about their vehicles to avoid getting overcharged by mechanics.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Gyms will make it almost impossible for their customers to cancel memberships and will often hide fees in their contracts. Some chains will charge customers for an extra month’s membership when they cancel.

Read More: 18 American Phrases That Non-Americans Struggle to Understand

Photo Credit: michaeljung/Shutterstock.

American expressions are a vital part of its culture, reflecting the nation’s history and values. However, these sayings can sometimes puzzle people from other countries because they often carry context, colloquialisms, and historical references that can lose their intended meaning when crossing borders. Let’s look at 18 of such American sayings.

18 American Phrases That Non-Americans Struggle to Understand

18 Reasons Why No One Is Interested in Working Anymore

Photo Credit: PeopleImages.com – Yuri A/Shutterstock.

The concept of traditional employment has taken a back seat in recent times with changes in economic and social factors, as well as individual preferences. Traditional jobs have also evolved, and many people don’t feel the need to take this route anymore. These are 18 reasons why no one is interested in working anymore.

18 Reasons Why No One Is Interested in Working Anymore

17 States Americans No Longer Want to Live In

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.

America is constantly changing, and within it, so are its states. Some have new laws that residents don’t agree with, while others have increasing rates of unemployment or areas of extreme poverty. These aspects make it difficult for a person to stay in their home state. Here are 17 states that Americans are deciding to reconsider.

17 States Americans No Longer Want to Live In

17 Things That Are Sadly Disappearing From Everyday Life

Photo Credit: Creative House/Shutterstock.

Life in modern times seems to evolve at an unprecedented pace. Certain things we couldn’t live without a few years ago are rapidly becoming redundant. Let’s take a peek at 17 such victims of modernization and why they’re slowly but surely disappearing.

17 Things That Are Sadly Disappearing From Everyday Life

15 Ways To Tell If Someone Is Not a Good Person

Photo Credit: Pheelings media/Shutterstock.

While it’s important to avoid quick judgments, certain behaviors can be strong indicators of a person’s character. Here are 15 ways to discern if someone might be a bad influence or possess harmful traits.

15 Ways To Tell If Someone Is Not a Good Person