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Five Biggest Legal Ripoffs Ever

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Scam SchoolMy wife and I bought our house five years ago. I remember looking over the list of closing costs and seeing a line for title insurance. Title insurance, which costs in the neighborhood of a few thousand dollars, is something that boggles my mind even to this day. It’s an example of something that is a 100% legal and 99% rip off. There are some things in life that are obvious rip offs, like pay day loans, and then there are others that aren’t so obvious. Today, I wanted to point out a few of the biggest legal ripoffs in the financial world. Some of them are completely avoidable. Others, however, are not.

In this article, we take aim at bank fees, extended warranties, title insurance, college textbooks, and car rental insurance.

Bank Fees

Lincoln Five DollarsBanks make billions a year off the fees they charge, from insufficient funds fees to account maintenance fee. Unfortunately, many of these banks are publicly traded. What this means is that once you collect a dollar in fees, you have to collect that dollar each quarter or your investors complain. Not only do you have to collect that dollar, you need to collect an extra one or your investors will complain. Years ago, I’m sure it took a few dollars to process an insufficient funds fee when the process was manual and the check had to be sent to one of the clearinghouses. Nowadays, with Check 21 and computers, the cost to process a bad check is much lower. It’s not $35, which is the average fee for a bad check. Two cents to the processing, $34.88 for the old income statement.

While government regulation seems to be the direction we’re headed, I think customers should vote with their wallets. Credit unions and community banks typically have more customer-friendly fee schedules. Some banks, like ING Direct, don’t even charge a fee on overdrafts, they charge interest on a small line of credit. Find a bank that doesn’t rip you off and isn’t addicted to income statement cocaine.

Extended Warranties

XBox ControllerIf you buy anything from an electronics store, they will almost always try to sell you add-ons like an extended warranty. There are two parts of this process that are enormous rip offs. First, the extended warranty itself. The manufacturer of the device will always have a warranty. If you buy it with a credit card, the card will usually double the manufacturer’s warranty to at most an additional year (6 month manufacturer’s warranty becomes an extra six months, 2 year warranty becomes an extra year). The extended warranty from the electronics store is almost always redundant, but they’ll try to sell it to you anyway.

Second, since when did we start accepting device failure within a couple of years? We started accepting it when guys in fancy MBA suits began touting “obsolescence” into their product plans. Why make a durable product if we plan on cannibalizing the market in a couple years with a new gadget? I understand that the Nintendo is technologically inferior to an XBox, but the most I ever needed to do was blow into the cartridge to get it to work. We’ve come to accept device failure within a few years because manufacturers never intended for us to use them that long. That’s a scam.

Title Insurance

Not my house...When you buy a home, you will be required to buy title insurance. Title insurance costs a pretty penny. In fact, it’ll cost tens of thousands of pennies. In return, you get the assurance that the title is legitimate and no one has claim on your home. If they do, the title insurance company insures you against those claims. Sounds good right? Except you’ll need to buy it each time you refinance.

In theory, the title insurance premium goes towards research and insurance. They are supposed to research the history of the title and ensure it’s legitimacy. If that’s the case, why is it necessary when you refinance? There is no transfer of ownership because you still own the house. The title will not have changed pre- and post-refi, yet the title insurance company still wants to get paid. They will, essentially, do nothing for what you pay them. Unfortunately, there’s no way around it if you need a mortgage, as the bank has to have protection (and you pay for it).

I was too quick to call title insurance a ripoff. In the original post, I pointed to title insurance on a refinance as the reason why I thought it was a ripoff but there are several good reasons why title insurance is important on a refi – such as a check to see if there are any outstanding liens on the title. So I retract my assertion that title insurance is a ripoff, though at times I think it can be overpriced (title insurance companies don’t necessarily offer a discount on refinances, even if they did the research the first time and only have to review a few years of history).

College Textbooks

Cheap Textbooks!The college textbook market is one hell of a racket. It exists because for a lot of students, the person buying the textbook isn’t the one paying for it. Many people get financial aid, which must be spent on education related materials, so they buy textbooks without considering the cost. Others get financial assistance from their parents, so they care very little too. That leaves everyone else, the people who make the buying decision and work extra hours to pay for it, paying “Brand New” prices for books that should be “Used.”

Why? Textbooks change for no apparent reason. You can’t tell me “Chemistry” needs a new edition each year. I don’t care what’s on the cutting edge of chemistry, an introductory university text on the subject should be the same today as it was in the 1980s. Put all the new developments since 1980 in Chemistry II. I understand there may be some fundamental changes in the last 40 years, Chemistry I will put the lessons in Chemistry II into historical context.

Car Rental Insurance

Maserati - I'd get LDW if I rented one of these...Liability damage waivers… that’s the code word for one of the insurance add-ons a car rental salesman or woman will try to sell you. It’s nothing more than your own car insurance, which covers you for rental cars, so getting it is really being double covered. The only benefit is that if something does happen, you don’t have to deal with it. It’s, however, ridiculously expensive. Just take the rate they charge, multiply it by 365, and compare it to your own insurance.

It’s not worth it unless you’re an absolutely terrible driving and you expect to crash the car. Actually, if you’re like that, ask someone else to drive.

(Photo: Scam School by magerleagues,$5 Bill by, Xbox Controller by schreiblockade, House by Michel Fillon, Maserati by Mdrewe, Textbooks by wfryer)

{ 93 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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93 Responses to “Five Biggest Legal Ripoffs Ever”

  1. Scott says:

    Curious question – anyone know if you buy a house outright with cash (no bank loan) if you still have to get title insurance?

    I think the biggest ripoff was that real estate lawyers tend to give you no choice in who you use for title insurance and how much it will cost you. I tried negotiating this with my lawyer and they didn’t budge. They were already saving me a lot on other expenses so I didn’t push it beyond that, but it still irked me.

    • Jim says:

      I don’t think you are required to buy title insurance if you pay entirely with cash, it’s technically insurance and with no one providing the loan, there’s no reason you would need it.

      • billsnider says:

        Title insurance protects you AND the bank against prior claims.

        Yes, if you pay cash you don’t have to buy it. Buy you put yourself at risk.

        Bill Snider

      • Jackson says:

        Doesn’t the insurance also protect you in cases where the seller might not have a legitimate claim on the property?

      • Rebecca Litton says:

        Absolutely correct – was a successful Realtor for 20 years and always advised customers to buy title insurance. Example sold a lovely expensive home in Germantown, TN.. They took my advise and purchased at closing. A few months later got a notice that the home had a second mortgage taken out the DAY of the closing by seller and they were going to foreclose as house was collateral. However, not their problem simply turned the matter over to their title company – end of story new buyer not responsible and title company handled thru their attorneys!!

      • Ruth Parker says:

        I bought a repoMH and land in Ga through a bank I never could get the taxes straight with the tax office and get my title seems they put my first years taxes on the previous owners late taxes not paid and was not caught at closing.I got it untangled since the land and MH taxes were seperate. I forgot about the Title Insurance but it was a lot of moeny due. I had been in banking for many years. I had paid cash but one of he fees was title insurance. I had to explain to the title insurance company exactly what went on. in detail and how to fix it because I could not get a title without paying back years of taxes that were not mine.

        The title company did all the legal work and paid all the back taxes late fees due and got the title and the ppaper work on the MH for me.
        This is why Title insurance can be a good thing.

    • MikeZ says:

      I imagine you wouldn’t be required to but in that situation unless it was a refi, i’d pay anyway. It is nice knowing that the crazy uncle of the guy you bought the house from won’t come down and claim the seller never owned the house in the first place. It’s the refi title insurance that is scummy since the policy only covers claims from when you bought the house till the refi close. In other words its only protecting you from yourself.

      Of course with no mortgage you could go with or something and get cheaper title insurance than offered by most brokers.

      • Ron says:

        Yeah, but Entitle reportedly has higher costs for the non-insurance side of the transaction, so, if true, it really is not any cheaper.

        • MikeZ says:

          I priced them out at my last refi and thier costs would have been a bit lower on that front as well. I think they wanted ~400 to close, while my broker wanted ~800. I got stuck going through the broker as their fine print in the offer required it.

    • Cam says:

      Well technically there are two types of title insurance you have to buy. Lender title insurance is required. It is to protect them, which is lame, if they want protection they should buy into it themseleves. The second type of title insurance is personal title insurance which is to protect YOU aganist any possible claims aganist your house.

      I would like to know the statistics on how often claims are actually filed but when I bought my house I declined the personal title insurance. Everyone was shocked in the room when I declined it but I thought it was a rip off.

  2. billsnider says:

    On extended warranties….

    Consumer Reports always says not to take these. To begin with, you have the manufacturers warranty. If the product lasts at least one year, chances are nothing is wrong with it. So you are right on with this one.

    Bill Snider

    • cdiver says:

      I normally don’t buy these. Several years ago we splurged for a big screen projection tv. We had a bulb go out right after the manf. warranty expired. Paid for itself, no other probalems to date.

      • Al of GA says:

        Next time, buy that big screen TV at Costco. They extend the warrantee for an extra year beyond that provided by the manufacturer. Because of that practice, I shop first for TV’s at Costco.

    • Melissa says:

      That’s one thing I have to disagree on. I work for retail(non-commission) and I’ve sold to customers who’ve had to return to my store over a year later with a problem with their device. There are certain things that you shouldn’t buy them for but I believe in the accidental ones and the ones that cover TV’s and Computers. From first hand experience and watching many of my customers coming back 2 or 3 years later and getting a replacement TV or Laptop due to repairs that cost more than the product itself. Instead of them having to come out of pocket again for a new device. They get one from my store due to their extended service plan. Always remember dealing with the manufacturer is not easy. In most cases you are calling outside of the US. You are responsible for shipping out the product and there warranties are limited. Something to honestly consider if you are shelling out a pretty penny for the device itself. Why would wanna have to go out and buy a new one in a year or two.

  3. cubiclegeoff says:

    I’d add for the rental insurance, just the fact that if you want a second individual to be able to drive a rental car, they charge you extra. I doubt it costs extra to say another person can drive the car.

    • billsnider says:

      I don’t think this is true if it is a spouse.

      Also don’t some credit cards give you car insrance if you use their card? A few years back when I was in Europe, my MC paid for the rental insurnace. Not sure if this is true today and in the US.

      Anyone here know the facts?

      Bill snider

      • michele says:

        I’m pretty sure my Amex card will only cover the cost of my deductible, but my insurance carrier covers rental.

      • Jay says:

        Some credit cards do provide this, especially the ones geared toward travelers or business people like the Discover Escape and Chase Sapphire. The only time I would ever purchase this is if I did not have a car or auto insurance.

      • cubiclegeoff says:

        This has only happened when my wife and I rent a car. I make sure to read it and have myself as the only person as the renter.

    • Jackson says:

      I always get the Car Rental Insurance.

      Not because I’m afraid I’ll damage the car, but because it’s “insurance” against the car rental companies if they try to blame me for some little scratch they just happen to find.

  4. Fred says:

    One big one that could be added to the list:

    Text Messaging Fees… It costs a cell carrier a small fraction of a penny to send a text message, but they charge as much as $0.25 / text to send one!

    • cdiver says:

      yes but they also give you options to buy them for much less. Many have packages starting at $5/200, which = 4/10 of a cent.
      You can also have the phone company turn the feature off of the phone so that you dont have to worry about paying for unsolicited texts.

      • billsnider says:

        You are right about getting unsolicted text messages. I don’t have this feature on my cell phone. Occassionally i would get a text message and get charged $1.99 per message. I had this blocked by my phone provider.

        Bill Snider

      • uclalien says:

        FYI, $5/200=$0.025 or 2.5 cents, not 4/10 of a cent.

  5. Shirley says:

    When we bought an LCD TV, the young clerk offered a price for a one year warranty. I asked if the TV was not built to last more than one year and he laughed, sheepishly saying, “Well it could get knocked over or something.”

    Thanks for the info, but no thanks. 😉

  6. Shirley says:

    When a 17 year old grandson took an evening course in Law Enforcement Basics at our local Community College he was told to buy the book at the school book store. There were no used ones and it cost $30.

    When the class was finished he tried to sell it back but was told that they didn’t want it because the next class would be using a different book. They wouldn’t even take it as a donation.

    Was this intended to be landfill fodder? 🙁

    • Jim says:

      Yeah that’s a rip off… but at least you can recycle the paper… 🙂

    • cdiver says:

      The $30 price was a bargain for him. Most of my text books ranged betwenn $80-$175. Many of which were non-buybacks. The local library wont even take them for free.

      • Agreed. I graduated from college 13 years ago and would have LOVED to have only spent $30 on a textbook. Even my used ones were more.

      • Shirley says:

        I guess it’s been is too long (48 years ago) since I was in college . 😉

        As it was a low quality paperback textbook to be used for an 18-hour class, I guess the price was not bad after all. The local library did take it as a donation, so maybe somebody, sometime, will find something of need in it.

    • I must not understand. I saved all of my textbooks from college. For years…. I still look up some things in one.

      • cdiver says:

        While they are good for use as a reference, so is the WWW. Now that I have learned about certain topics and principles it is easy to reference material online, at least it is for me.

      • cubiclegeoff says:

        Textbooks go out of date occasionally, so they aren’t all that helpful to save (except for maybe statistics or some math books). Plus, most people have to take classes that are no relevance to their major (core curriculum), and so there’s no need to save those.

    • billsnider says:

      I worked for a text book manufacturer, so i am sensitive to this subject.

      This is a highly competitive business. There is a ton of R&D that goes into a book. If it fails to sell (and most do), then you better make it up on the ones that do or you will be saying bye-bye to your job. The market palce bears some of the responsibility for the cost. If they could all agree ahead of time on one national book, you could really bring down the costs.

      Also the books tend to be odd size (higher cost), better grade of paper (higher costs), better binding (higher costs), coated paper (higher costs), color plates (higher costs) and have high book store return rates (higher costs).

      Bill Snider

      • poscogrubb says:

        I’m a grad student so I see what my professor goes through as far as choosing textbooks for his undergrad class.

        The competition is there at the professor’s desk. Once the textbook publisher wins the contract for the entire class, there’s not much choice left for the student and not much competition left.

        Even if there is competition at the retail level, this still does not explain why textbooks must go through significant revisions for new editions every other year. Correcting errors is one thing. Changing the problem sets to make the old editions obsolete? Bad.

        • tbork84 says:

          Professors will play into this by not just printing out problem sets and making the students use the new edition problems. Its a very rigged system.

      • daenyll says:

        I always liked the professors who would arrange for printing a course pack with only the sections of books that they felt were necessary and have the cost paying the royalties for only these sections rather than make the students buy multiple books for a class.

      • Jim says:

        I understand your perspective and it does help to explain why textbooks are so expensive. I think that so many students see the other side, the fact that editions change for no apparent reason and it seems like a ripoff. I know I feel that way.

    • Jan says:

      This is a norm for universities. I took a class that the books were over $200. None could be resold! Total rip!
      This will only change if PARENTS get mad!

  7. cdiver says:

    Another one is Graduation Gear. You used to have the option of purchasing for around $70. Now you can only rent, and they cost $100.

    • In high school, I’m not sure if we paid a rental or not. If so, it was fairly low.

      In college, we bought, and it wasn’t terrible expensive (less than $70, I’m sure). Not the greatest quality, but it didn’t need to endure much wear and tear, either.

  8. zapeta says:

    I always hated the textbook racket. I would buy mine used from Half or somewhere. The textbook people got smart about this and now there are some “university” specific editions out there and if you buy the book from anywhere else you end up missing some stuff. What a ripoff.

  9. Bob says:

    Regarding Title insurance, learn what you are talking about.

    Title insurance protects you from the title company (and it’s search). It ensures your search and the related transaction are legitimate.

    Lots of things can happen to the title while continuously owning. tax leins, mechanics leins, etc (whether actual or mistaken) can be filed while you “refinance” Transfer does not have to happen for a search to be conducted. The insurance “insures” the search.

    It also insures the transaction in case the title company takes your money, fails to pay off your previios lien, fails to pay a provider, etc.

    It is actually very cheap insurance. I have seen title companies fail. Title insurance was a lifesaver. without it the borrowers would have literally lost their house AND still owed the money AND gone bankrupt.

    • MikeZ says:

      I’m not sure Title Insurance would actually do much for the things that happen while you continuously own the property. If the City takes out a Tax Lien on your property refinancing and getting new title insurance isn’t going to make that tax bill go away. All it does is inform the lender that his equity isn’t worth as much which the homeowner should have already done.

      As far as going out of business at least in my state all Titles are stored by the county, So I’ve never seen that fail. I can imagine a title insurance company failing but not under a situation where a policy would save you.

      • Bob says:

        Title insurance will pay the claim if something is missed. When you refinance a search is completed. This includes refinancing a construction loan, refinancing to pay off multiple mortgages, etc.

        The insurance protects in the event the dees are improperly or not recorded. Of of the leins are never released.

        The statute of limitations for certain mechanics liens varys, but one can be placed many months after the work is performed.

        It is becasue of title insurance that lenders will loan. Without it, the note is callable and due, and you either get to refiannce again or lose your house.

        And I have seen way more up close than I prefer what happens when a title company fails. Innocent people get hurt and loose lots of money.

        True story. borrower refinances. new loan company wires funds to pay off existing loan. Title company is shut down the next day by the department of insurance for fraud (actually happend).

        borrower now has two loans. New and old. Both lay claims. After months and months of legal wrangling Title insurance pays off old loan.

        It is not the recorders office failing, it is the title company that disburses funds for all closings, both purchases and refinances that can fail. And they do.

        • Phillip says:

          Bob, although you may be right about several of these issues, you lose credibility with the inordinate number of typos and misspellings you display in such short messages. And then you have the audacity to demand, “learn what you are talking about [sic].” As I said, you don’t garner enough credibility to be making such demands by the sheer number of grammatical and spelling errors in your posts. Your short phrase, “learn what you are talking about,” is a beautiful example. What a mind-bend that phrase truly is.

          Furthermore, several of the posters here talk about others being so ignorant. I see that as a bit hypocritical when some posters can’t even put together a clear, concise declarative sentence. If you are in such a hurry to get your point across that you have no respect for grammar or spelling, how are we to believe that you did careful research on the opinion you’re espousing?

          Go ahead and flame me if you deem it necessary to assuage your own feelings… But think about whether or not what I’ve said here has even the slightest bit of validity before being so quick to launch your missives.

        • MikeZ says:

          I’m guessing this may have been a terminology misunderstanding between Title Insurance and Title Company. My last loan actually closed at the County Courthouse and I watched as the paperwork that removed the old bank and added the new bank to the deed was handed to the county clerk. So there really wasn’t a Title company involved that could have gone bankrupt other than the insurance itself.

  10. moljacks says:

    In college I would buy a copy of the book, new, and rent it out to members of my class. I would usually make enough to cover the cost of the book and then I would sell it back at the end of the semester. That kept me in ramen for the next few months!

  11. hoht says:

    Like Zapata said, those custom edition books are screwing us already poor, ramen eating, students to the gutter. Really, does rearranging pages and a shiny new cover justify $175!?

  12. College textbooks are ridiculously expensive. I remember spending between $300-$500 on books my first year of college. After that I got wiser and started swapping books with friends. I found that I only needed to buy the books that I thought I would continue to use after college. For all the other ones there were other much cheaper means to get the books.

    If you do buy textbooks and realize that you don’t want or need them after the semester is over then sell them! The great thing about many textbooks is that there are tons and tons of other students just like you that need them. If you can’t sell them at your school because they switched textbooks then try to sell it on Amazon.

  13. dello says:

    Can someone please explain why in the state of Florida both the buyer and seller have to each purchase title insurance??? Makes no sense at all does it.

    • Ron says:

      Typically where that happens, the seller is paying for the owner’s policy which protects the buyer and the buyer is paying for a lender’s policy if they are getting a mortgage. Since the seller is contractually obligated to provide evidence of good title to the buyer and the buyer is obligated to pay the costs required by the lender, it makes perfect sense.

  14. Ron says:

    It’s surprising to me what the level of ignorance about title insurance is out there. I wish you had more facts before posting, Mr. Wang. In the midwest, title insurance typically costs hundreds of dollars, not thousands. And if you understand the concept of risk prevention, you would understand why it’s needed when you refinance (and most states have a much lower rate for refinances).

    Let’s say I own a property for 5 years and refinance. My new lender will want to make sure it will have a mortgage which is a first lien on the property. If no title search is done, how would the lender know what liens I may have put on the property in the past 5 years? What if I just rehabbed the property and owe a contractor $100,000 for which he has filed a lien? What if I have not paid real estate taxes and the property is about to be sold for non-payment? What if I have two other mortgages on the house and they are not being paid off? A lender needs title insurance on a refi to protect its interest.

    Moreover, because we have title insurance, loans are cheaper in America and our consumers pay thousands less over the life of a loan than they pay in other countries without title insurance. Still think it’s a ripoff? You pay for it once, it protects consumers from having claims and they help collect millions every year in every state for child support and tax obligations.

    • Regarding this comment: “In the midwest, title insurance typically costs hundreds of dollars, not thousands”

      You may want to re-read this part of the article:
      “In fact, it’ll cost tens of thousands of PENNIES.”

      Which is, of course, hundreds of dollars, not thousands.

      It’s an unusual way to refer to the amount, but it’s building upon the “pretty penny” from the previous sentence.

      • Ron says:

        Kosmo – you’re right about what you quoted, but see this quote from the beginning of the article: “Title insurance, which costs in the neighborhood of a few thousand dollars…” That’s where my comment came from.

    • MikeZ says:

      I think the ripoff comes in the buyer having to pay for a policy that covers the lender. Further the lender usually requires a specific insurer. So what differentiates title insurance companies? Normally if a company wants more buisness they offer some incentive to the consumer (lower prices/coupons/etc). However in this case the people they market to (banks/brokers) are not the people who will at the end of the day be picking up the check. So competition involves giving freebies to the broker at the cost to the end customer.

      • Ron says:

        I disagree, Mike. Just because the lender requires something, doesn’t mean it’s a ripoff. The lender requires things such as appraisals, credit checks and title insurance policies to make sure it should make the loan. It’s part of the lender’s due diligence. If someone wants a loan, they should expect to pay for that due diligence, as it’s part of the loan cost. Having said that, you may want to look into what interest rates for home purchases are in other developed countries which do NOT have title insurance. It’s a lot more.

        As for differentiation in title companies, companies file their own rates in most states and the rates differ between companies, sometimes rather significantly. They also compete on level of service. Some companies are higher rated and some don’t have a good claims-handling reputation. Consumers are always free to choose their title insurer on a purchase transaction. The lender usually chooses on a refi, but a consumer can always suggest an insurer or company it is comfortable with.

        As an aside, giving freebies to a broker or other provider of business is illegal, and it is punished by regulators when it comes to light.

        • MikeZ says:

          “The lender usually chooses on a refi” That is what we are talking about here isn’t it? I don’t think having title insurance is a scam, and don’t believe I have ever stated as much. However there is no incentive for normal free market competition in prices when the person paying the fee, is not the one in charge of choosing the product. Without competition how could anyone be sure the price the consumer is getting is reasonable?

          BTW I suggested using a different title insurance company on my last refi and was turned down. In the grand scheme of things getting the extra 1/4 percent lower interest rate was worth the higher closing costs. Still doesn’t mean I wasn’t ripped off. Unfortunately for the consumer here it isn’t possible to shop ala carte for each part of a refinance transaction.

          While direct kickbacks to the broker are illegal, I’m not sure this really matters that much. After all direct kickbacks to politicians are illegal as well but that doesn’t stop them from attending some week long conference in Maui fully paid for private industry.

          For my example, EntitleDirect quoted me $350 for insurance + 400 for escrow/closing + 75 title search. The broker required a company with $600 Insurance + 800 Escrow/closing + 75 Title search.

  15. Kate says:

    I think all textbooks are too expensive – this is why there is such a shortage of learning materials in our public schools. I am sure that textbook companies like Houghton could come up with a better price point. Especially considering that school systems buy in bulk.

  16. I hate the idea of Title Insurance and it really bugs me that it’s allowed to continue. Why must we pay such high premiums for something that we already paid for?

    College text books are also irritating. I used to buy expensive college books as a freshman, only to find out that you can only get a small fraction of what you paid back. I got smarter and began buying books from online (Half, Amazon), through a college book exchange (which sold books for cheaper), getting them from people who are took the class or even borrowing them fro the library for free.

    • Ron says:

      Hey Pays – You bought auto insurance last year. Do you hate to pay for it again this year? Title insurance is a one-time payment made when you buy property or get a new loan. It’s not paid annually. If you read my comment above, you will understand why it’s necessary.

      I would also refer you to the following website which comments on the lack of understanding about what title insurance provides.

      It saves consumers money because it makes home loans much cheaper than they would be if there was no title insurance, since it reduces lender risks.

  17. freeby50 says:

    When I refinanced in 2003 my title insurance was about $480. I felt more ripped off by the $350 appraisal fee.

  18. eric says:

    You hit the nail on the head with textbooks. Why the hell do you need a new edition not only every year but also EVERY semester. I’m sure it didn’t change that much! Sheesh.

  19. John says:

    Extended warranties a ripoff? NOT NECESSARILY. If you don’t buy at least a 2-3 year extended warranty on a computer, (or a car!), you’re the one who’ll be left high and dry! On these 2 expensive-product examples, every extended warranty I’ve ever bought has * much * more than paid for itself, in most cases 2-3 times over, and then some! BUY EXTENDED WARRANTIES ON CARS + COMPUTERS, AT LEAST!

    • David says:

      I actually with this a bit. I bought a 4 yr extended warranty for my laptop when I started college and have gotten the screen replaced 3 times, keyboard replaced twice, and fan once; so in this case it has basically paid for itself too. With everything that has been wrong with my computer maybe it was just a defective one to begin with but the extended warranty did save me some cash.

  20. Textbook Writer says:

    Textbooks have enormous development and marketing costs. They include:

    1. Ancillaries. Most professors will not adopt a book that doesn’t come with a test bank, solution manual, Power Point lectures for each chapter, and drop-in modules for Angel or Blackboard. Do you think those Power Point lectures you see in class, or department tests, were done by the professor? They were more likely done by the publisher, who hired someone at great expense to do it.

    2. Large, expensive sales forces to visit the professors and give out hundreds of free evaluation copies. Otherwise no one will know the book even exists. Most professors don’t seek out textbooks. They want the books to come to them.

    3. Licensing and permissions fees for images.

    Also, after a couple of years, more used books are sold than new books. Neither the publisher nor the author makes a dime off a used book. No sales means you go out of business. Hence, new editions must come out.

  21. joyce says:

    that last lines about car rental insurance made me laugh. tell the car rental service the next time, that your letting them make you buy their insurance because they must know you are the worlds worst driver. LOL

  22. Anonymous says:

    Title insurance does not protect you from claims against your property if the issues are not recorded in your County!

  23. dr. jerry says:

    it is the american way. ANY scam you can think of to screw the public is ok. no ethics are allowed.In med school, pefectly good instuments, same brand as school selling, were not allowed.
    look at oil industry, pharmaceuticals, insurance, auto, etc.
    viva the bick.

  24. Anonymous says:

    About textbooks, as a college student I have to say the biggest rip off is the college bookstores. I understand books being expensive (as a psychology student our books get to be ridiculous) but when we sell the books back the pay us maybe 25% of what we paid, then jack the price back up to what we paid to begin with to sell to some other sap. Why can’t they give us more for our buybacks?

  25. homebuyer says:

    We are in the process of buying a 3000 square foot foreclosed home from Fannie Mae for about 55% of what it sold for in 2008. In our state an eagle policy covering both lender and buyer is $3.60 per thousand of purchase price. I consider this a small price to pay to safeguard the instant equity we are gaining by buying this particular home. I would never be comfortable with the risk that someone who lost their job and home in the current economy had no other debts that could be applied against our home. Buying foreclosures is beneficial to getting the economy going again, and title insurance is a safety net to help with those efforts.

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