I spotted this WebmasterWorld thread where a webmaster said he simply cannot afford them all. He added up the fees to remove the links he feels is hurting his web site from ranking well in Google and they added up to $12,210.
Some only wanted $20 but some wanted as much as $500 to remove a link.
This webmaster cannot afford to spend $12,000 on link removals and is looking for a way out.
The easiest way out is the Google Disavow Tool. This tool is exactly for situations where you cannot remove a link from a third-party site. Either no one responds to you, they refuse to remove it or you cannot afford to remove it. So use the disavow tool.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.
Image credit to BigStockPhoto for suitcase of money