A ‘service charge’ or ‘tip’ for Internet service? You’ve got to be kidding


Gotta hand it to the Crowne Plaza at Changi Airport in Singapore. Just when I thought I’d seen every rip-off possible, they came up with a new one.

Internet service in the rooms is S$29 (US$21), ridiculously high for an airport hotel. No, any hotel. Now, add to that the GST (goods and services tax), which is required by law and is thus understandable. But then add a 10 percent “service charge,” which definitely is not.

Why impose a service charge — i.e., a tip — on an electronic service that doesn’t require any service at all? Well, manager-on-duty Christine told me, “That’s in case you have to call the company for service; they have to answer the phone.”

Silly me — I thought that was part of the cost of delivering Internet service to begin with!

As for the high price? “It’s set by the third-party Internet company,” she said.

Hey, if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

  • Biff Jones

    I’ve been paying $5.95 a month for years to my local NATURAL GAS provider for “customer service”. I called them once to ask what it was and they said, “To have someone available to answer your questions”. In 11 years that is the only time I’ve called them. Somehow I don’t think I’ve gotten my $785.40 worth.

  • Phil

    The smaller the problem the bigger the platform?
    Seriously, isn’t this too silly, piddling, and ridiculous to waste a home page article on?
    Where are Chris, Charles, Ned and James when you need them?

  • Jeff Linder

    Wow, I was very pleased with the Crowne when I was there and I don’t recall a 10% charge on top of the net rate (I’d have to find the scan of the bill)..

    I’m sure they are assuming that most of their travelers are on business and don’t look at the bill that carefully. Either way, it’s still very expensive (with the caveat that I have no idea how pricey net access is in general in Singapore)

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  • Robert

    Congratulations Peter –

    You’ve hit on the next airline fee. We’ll start paying 10% additional for a pilot and flight attendant service charge. But wait – we are already paying for checked baggage – but they can add a 10% service charge for baggage handlers.

    These make about as much sense as the fee you were charged at the Crowne Plaza.

  • http://www.globepharm.org Michael Anisfeld

    My garage added a US$ 10 “invoice preparation charge” last time I had my car serviced. I told them that if they insisted on this, then they would lose a client of over 10 years standing (at a service twice a year). They promptly removed the charge, but commented “you are the first ever to complain!”

  • MVFlyer

    The next airline fees along these lines:

    A pilot training fee–a fee to insure our pilots are up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations, including the use of laptops in the cockpit. Next up: the emergency slide fee.