A fee is the price one pays as remuneration for rights or services. Fees usually allow for overhead, wages, costs, and markup. Traditionally, professionals in the United Kingdom (and previously the Republic of Ireland) receive a fee in contradistinction to a payment, salary, or wage, and often use guineas rather than pounds as units of account. Under the feudal system, a Knight's fee was what was given to a knight for his service, usually the usage of land. A contingent fee is an attorney's fee which is reduced or not charged at all if the court case is lost by the attorney.
A service fee, service charge, or surcharge is a fee added to a customer's bill. The purpose of a service charge often depends on the nature of the product and corresponding service provided. Examples of why this fee is charged are: travel time expenses, truck rental fees, liability and workers' compensation insurance fees, and planning fees. UPS and FedEx have recently begun surcharges for fuel.
Restaurants and banquet halls charging service charges in lieu of tips must distribute them to their wait staff in some US states (e.g., Massachusetts, New York, Montana), but in the state of Kentucky may keep them. A fee may be a flat fee or a variable one, or part of a two-part tariff. A membership fee is charged as part of a subscription business model.
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