Watch out for ‘grey charges’

Here’s another good reason to make sure you know the terms and conditions of your credit card – making sure you’re not a victim of what’s known as “grey charges”.

Grey charges are those legitimate fees that are in your terms and conditions that you might not know exist. Among these are services that might have been free when you first signed up for the card, but the free offer has been withdrawn, or a gratis introductory period has come to an end.

While these charges are not illegal, and they very often not deceptive, card holders could be paying out many millions of dollars on fees without realising it every year.

The biggest pitfall for credit card holders is signing up to “free” offers from major retailers that offer you a period of up to a year using the service without charge. All of a sudden, the free trial period comes to an end and you’re suddenly and automatically added to the roll of paying customers without realising.

On some occasions, users have taken the free trial, didn’t use it that much, forgot they’d signed up and assumed they wouldn’t hear any more from the company, thinking that once the trial was over there would be no further charges. And if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t look too closely at their statements, it could be several months before they realise they’re paying for a service they don’t use.


So, save yourself money and do a couple of things.

Number one: We keep saying this, and the message is going to get through one day – check your monthly statements! If there’s something on there you don’t recognise, question it.

Number two: Read the small print on both your card and free trial purchases. If you’re going to be converted from a free customer to a paying one automatically, make sure you cancel your sub in time

Number three: Keep a diary! Mark forward anything you’ve bought in your diary with the date you’re actually going to start paying for them. Then there’s going to be no nasty shocks

As usual, if you keep on top of your spending habits, you’ll have no problems. Just look out for those financial ghosts.


Article by Jason Taylor – [email protected]