How market forces make products and services worse

Martin Thoma
4 min readApr 7, 2024
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As a consumer, I am getting more and more annoyed by a few effects of our (mostly) free market. This is mostly a rant, but could also be a collection of ideas where the law could limit the freedom to the benefit of all.

№ 1: Hidden Fees and Charges

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  • Most prevalent in airlines, but the stories I’ve heard about US-hospitals are way more frightening.
  • Companies use hidden fees to advertise lower prices and attract customers, knowing that consumers often overlook or misunderstand the additional costs. This makes a fair comparison practically impossible for the customer — hence it works against the image of a well-informed consumer in a free market.
  • Regulators could enforce stricter transparency requirements, mandating that companies clearly disclose all fees upfront. For airlines, I could imagine that we define a typical “package”, e.g. the minimum baggage amount and paying via credit card. Only the price for that may be advertised. Consumers will likely be happy if they can opt-out of e.g. baggage they don’t need. Nobody complains if they have to pay less than expected.
    As a side-note: The tax should…

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Martin Thoma

I’m a Software Engineer with over 10 years of Python experience (Backend/ML/AI). Support me via https://martinthoma.medium.com/membership