I Can’t Get A Handle On This Charge

7 September 2008

Later this month I’m spending 3 days in India.  According to the Indian High Commissioner’s website, I need a visa, which costs $38.

So I filled out the forms and trotted along to get one.

“That will be $56”, said the young woman behind the counter.  “Oh”, says I.  “I thought it was $38”  “Yes, it’s $38 for the visa and $18 for the handling charge.  And there’s a surcharge if you’re paying by credit or debit card”.

I paid in cash.

Why don’t they just say it costs $56?  The handling charge is mandatory – I can’t issue my own visa.

Will I soon be told that my $3 coffee from the cafe has a 50c handling charge?  Or to take my money and wrap that blouse I’d like to buy I’ll have to pay an extra $10?

It’s madness.




  1. Insanity, for sure.

  2. Here in the states, we have a “Truth in Lending” law, because of so much fine print and odd clauses, and people unknowingly signing for really crazy stuff they didn’t know was or should be in there. Sounds like you need a “Truth in Buying” law down under. “This $2 measuring cup will really cost you $83 by the time we get through assessing taxes, luxury taxes (you didn’t really need to measure – you could have just ‘eyeballed’ it) handling fees, shipping fees, a charge to sack it up, a charge to run your charge card through our machine, a charge for the paper to insure it doesn’t break on the way home. A bag charge. And a surcharge because the electric bill for the store was high last month.

  3. I think the charge might be been levied no matter how many applications you had to process in your party. So for a family of four it might have been $38 + $38 + $38 + $38 + $18. But maybe not.

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