Is there a word to describe the situation of being forced into paying for something sophisticated and often expensive when you only need a part of it? An example that comes to mind is that of one of the subscription-based online services that offer dozens of benefits but you only purchase it for one or two of them.

Edit: To give an example of how I want this word to be used in a sentence, suppose that a company sells two models of a widget - let's call them A and B. A customer might need more features than what widget A has, but not nearly as many features as model B has. But because there are no models in between widgets A and B, the customer will be forced to purchase widget B and most of its features will go unused. Ideally, this situation could be described with the word I'm looking for in a sentence like

a customer {maybe word} a more expensive model because {maybe word}.

One of the words that was suggested is "upselling", which is very close to what I'm looking for, but it implies that the seller intentionally withholds a cheaper, simpler item in order to make more profit. I'm looking for a word that doesn't imply any intentions, only states the fact that the purchase was an overkill for the task in a situation where there were no other options.

  • There might be too many ways to express that for this site. Word requests should made narrow and specific enough to have only one clearly right answer. Try adding details of research you’ve done, especially solutions you’ve already rejected, and why. Include the desired connotation, register, part of speech, and context in which it is to be used. Generally we want the enclosing sentence or passage. – MetaEd Sep 18 '18 at 18:14
  • @user070221 Avoid answers in comments. They cannot be community edited or peer reviewed. This discourages people from posting actual answers and defeats the core answer ranking process. A better place to post an answer is in the answer box. See: Privileges > Comment Everywhere – Help Center. See also: Is SE enforcing “no answers in comments”? – Meta – MetaEd Sep 18 '18 at 18:15
  • @MetaEd you're right, thanks for pointing out ways to improve the question. I fixed as best I could, is there anything that I missed? – madcap Sep 18 '18 at 18:49
  • This is very common when one is buying certain types of screw or nails or plumbing items. You want what traditionally would have been sold separately but today you have to buy a kit or an entire box full of the item. I understand this question completely. However, I am not sure of fancy/less fancy models: forced to buy a product with unwanted bells-and-whistles. – Lambie Sep 18 '18 at 21:26
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    You might find some usable lingo here: forbes.com/sites/ronashkenas/2011/02/16/simplicity-sells/… – Lambie Sep 18 '18 at 21:59

We often have to buy more than we want due to bundling. There’s a lot of legal and economic literature about its effects, both pro- and anti-competitive. iTunes unbundled music albums, letting people buy just one song off an album. Streaming services have done the same for cable bundles. You might also try “tying” and “coupling”. A razor might be tied to its proprietary razor blades. Cell phone handsets and carriers have historically been fairly tightly coupled, due to different internal radios or whatever, but are increasingly sold “unlocked”.

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  • Excellent answer for an important term that has moved beyond jargon of legal parlance and into mainstream English usage. BTW, I am now following you on Github! I am Demeter. – Ellie Kesselman Sep 13 '19 at 5:28

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