‘Extortion’: 8 American Products and Services That Are a Maddening Rip-Off

In today’s consumer-driven society, it’s not uncommon to come across products and services that leave us feeling shortchanged. Some offerings in the American market leave customers questioning their value for money, leading to a feeling of being taken advantage of, almost like a form of extortion. In this article, we’ll delve into eight instances where consumers may feel like they’re getting a raw deal.

The College Textbook Dilemma

Heading off to college is an exciting time, but the exorbitant prices of textbooks can be a significant financial burden for students. Publishers often release new editions with minimal changes, rendering older versions obsolete and inflating costs.

Cable and Satellite Television Packages

The cable and satellite TV industry has been notorious for offering bundled packages that include channels many viewers don’t actually want. This lack of customization forces consumers to pay for content they have no interest in.

Overpriced Prescription Medications

Read Also: 12 Best Cities in the United States for Dogs in 2023

The rising cost of prescription medications in the United States has been a cause for concern for years. Life-saving drugs often come with hefty price tags, leaving patients struggling to afford their necessary treatments.

The Wedding Industry’s Markup

From venues to catering and flowers, the wedding industry is notorious for charging a premium for services associated with the big day. Couples often find themselves paying a steep price for what could otherwise be reasonably priced services.

Inflated Healthcare Costs

The American healthcare system has faced criticism for its high costs. From routine check-ups to emergency care, medical expenses in the U.S. can be significantly higher than in other developed countries.

Bottled Water: A Costly Convenience

While accessible tap water is available to most Americans, the bottled water industry thrives on marketing it as a premium product. Consumers often pay a premium for what is essentially a readily available resource.

Airline Fees and Add-Ons

The airline industry is notorious for tacking on additional fees for services that were once included in the ticket price. From checked baggage to in-flight amenities, travelers can end up paying much more than the initial ticket cost.

Text Messaging Fees

In the age of data and internet-based communication, text messaging fees can seem like a relic of the past. Carriers often charge hefty rates for SMS services, despite the minimal cost associated with sending a text.


Being an informed consumer is crucial in navigating a market where some products and services may seem like a maddening rip-off. By understanding these instances of perceived extortion, consumers can make more informed choices and advocate for fair pricing practices. Remember, your voice as a consumer holds power, and together, we can drive positive change in these industries.


Q: Are there any alternatives to purchasing overpriced textbooks?

Yes, students can explore options like renting, buying used, or accessing digital versions of textbooks to save on costs.

Q: How can consumers navigate the healthcare system to minimize expenses?

Researching in-network providers, understanding insurance coverage, and exploring generic medication options are ways to mitigate healthcare costs.

Q: Are there ways to reduce wedding expenses without compromising quality?

Yes, couples can consider options like off-peak weddings, DIY decorations, and seeking out local vendors for more budget-friendly alternatives.

Q: What are some strategies for avoiding excessive airline fees?

Travelers can opt for airlines with transparent fee structures, pack efficiently to avoid checked baggage, and

Q: How can consumers advocate for more reasonable pricing in these industries?

Supporting legislation for transparency in pricing and exploring alternative service providers are ways consumers can advocate for fair pricing.

Leave a Comment