Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Hidden fees top list of most-annoying things

Unscooped dog poop is also high on the list, particularly among city dwellers.

By Karen Datko Dec 4, 2009 3:14PM

This post comes from partner site


Americans have many reasons to be annoyed, but what bugs them most are hidden fees and not being able to speak to a human being when they call customer service, according to a survey by Consumer Reports.


In a nationally representative survey conducted in late September, Consumer Reports asked 1,125 Americans to score 21 gripes on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 meaning an experience “does not annoy you at all” and 10 meaning it “annoys you tremendously.”

Hidden fees (8.9 overall) and the inability to reach a human being (8.6.) top the list, but tailgating drivers (8.3), cell phone use while driving (8.0) and incomprehensible bills (7.8) were also among the more annoying things that rub Americans the wrong way.


Despite all the complaining, one group escaped the worst of the public’s wrath. Americans have far more to be annoyed with than weather forecasters who get it wrong. They scored a mere 4.3 on the gripe scale.

Respondents who identified themselves as Democrats were more annoyed than Republicans by television or radio shows during which people shout their opinions. Of the respondents who indicated a party affiliation, the mean gripe score for being annoyed at shouters was 6.9 for Democrats and 5.9 for Republicans.


Other results:

  • Bad news for man’s best friend or, more accurately, their owners, unscooped dog poop (7.6) was high on the list, particularly with residents of urban areas.
  • Women were significantly more irritated than men by 11 of the 21 choices, including speeding drivers, having to remember passwords and PINs, and products that shrank but still cost the same.
  • People older than 50 were more annoyed than younger folks about eight of the choices. Among them: discourteous cell phone use, e-mail spam, and cell phone use while driving.

The complete report on how Americans ranked all 21 annoyances is available in the January issue of Consumer Reports.


Related reading at

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.