Top 20 “Rip-Offs”

A study has revealed that Brits think milk, bus travel and iPhone apps are good value for money – but birthday cards, takeaway pizza and printer cartridges are a rip-off.

Predictably, petrol was also deemed a rip-off, as is paying 60p for a stamp or being forced to shell out to go to the toilet at train stations. The price of a 3D cinema ticket and monthly cable TV subscription were also named and shamed as ‘not good value’ as were theme park tickets, train travel, jeans and razor blades.

The results emerged following a comprehensive study carried out among 2,000 Brits into whether they feel they get value for money when spending their hard-earned cash.

Dave Broadway, managing director of print and post specialists Docmail, which commissioned the study, said:

”It’s hard times for many people at the moment and the results of the research show that the majority of Brits feel they aren’t getting value for money in many areas.

”People are having to be more and more aware of their spending day to day and squeeze the pennies further. That makes them reassess every purchasing decision and clearly the value of an item is not always in line with the cost.

”It’s interesting to see the range of areas where the worst value items can be found as it proves there is a general feeling that life is becoming increasingly expensive.”

It also emerged spending £3 on a birthday card was considered the biggest waste of money, while the £179.00 peak return it costs to take the train from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington was seen as outrageously lacking in value. To add insult, passengers are then charged 30p to go to the toilet in a train station and that was voted the 3rd worst value for money purchase.

Watching Premier League football was also deemed as bad value for money with the average £45 price too much for many. It also emerged the average Brit feels they only get value for money on about four in every ten purchases. Among the few items Brits saw as offering them a good deal were paracetamol, a £4 all-day bus ticket and paying £18 a month for broadband.

Travel insurance was seen as a good deal by most, while four pints of milk for £1.18 was also deemed reasonable. And no one enjoys a good cup of tea more than the Brits – forking out £22 for a good kettle also made the list of purchases to offer good value for money.

But 60 per cent feel they are forced out of necessity to spend on things that represent bad value for money. Fuel, council tax and motoring costs were among the things that Brits hate having to pay out for.  While one in four Brits can’t stand having to fork out for a colleague’s birthday whip round.



  1. Birthday card – £3
  2. Standard anytime return Bristol Temple Meads – London Paddington train ticket – £179
  3. 30p toilet fee at a train station
  4. Large takeaway pizza – £16.99
  5. Printer cartridges x 2 – £44
  6. Theme Park ticket – £43.50
  7. Medium white wine purchased in pub – £5
  8. Pair of men’s jeans – £40
  9. Videogame for console – £45
  10. Monthly cable television subscription – £48
  11. Premiership football ticket – £45
  12. Second class stamp – 50p
  13. 3D Cinema ticket – £11.85 (inc. glasses)
  14. Prescription charge – £7.65
  15. First class stamp – 60p
  16. 1 litre of petrol – £1.30
  17. 4 x razor blades – £8
  18. 4 x toilet rolls – £2.38
  19. Ladies haircut – £35
  20. Pint of beer purchased in pub – £3.50



  1. Paracetamol x 16 tablets – 19p
  2. 4 pints semi-skimmed milk – £1.18
  3. Kettle – £22
  4. All day bus travel – £4
  5. iPhone app – 69p
  6. Flat screen TV- £349.99
  7. Broadband monthly contract – £18
  8. Sony CamCorder – £139.99
  9. Travel insurance




  1.  Fuel
  2. Parking costs
  3. Car repair and maintenance
  4. Council tax
  5. Printer cartridges
  6. Electricity
  7. Gas
  8. Car insurance
  9. Colleague’s birthday whip rounds
  10. Water




I’m Mary Cummings, a ghostwriter, collaborator and all round word doctor. I help business owners write and publish business books; I'm also passionate about helping creative freelancers find work that they love - their work sweet spot with work on their terms, projects they love and clients who are a dream to work for.

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