Removing a credit card late fee was too easy

June 18, 2014 · 7 comments

I received an email yesterday from Bank of America informing me I was charged a $25 late fee on my Alaska Airlines credit card for having a past due balance.

I pooped myself when I saw the email.

Literally.

Mostly because I was on the toilet when I was checking my email, but that’s beside the point.

I made an oath to myself a long time ago that if I ever incurred a late fee, penalty, or interest charge on any of my credit cards, I would immediately cancel them and limit myself to only using my debit card. Credit cards are awesome, but only when used responsibly. Fees and interest negate any benefit they may provide.

I pride myself on being responsible and always paying my bills on time. I knew I made a huge credit card payment recently so I had no clue why I was being charged a fee.

Turns out, I’m apparently a little too responsible. 

My credit card statement ends on the 2nd of each month. In May, I made a payment on the 2nd that I thought would cover my June bill. Submitting that payment a full 30 days earlier than I needed too.

Or so I thought.

I guess my payment, was a few hours too early and was applied to my previous bill, since the new statement had not finished processing. Basically, while I thought I was paying my June statement off early, Bank of America thought I was just submitting an extra payment for my May statement.

This resulted in an $89 balance due on June 1st that I didn’t know I had. I was charged a $25 late fee (that’s a 28% penalty) for not making that payment.

I had read blog posts before about people who have had success getting late fees or interest charges dropped from their credit card, but had no experience with it myself since I’ve never been late on anything. I decided to give Bank of America a call to see if I could persuade them to remove the fee.

Here is how that conversation played out…

BoA: Thanks for calling BoA, how can I help you today? 

Me: Um, I noticed I was charged a $25 late fee on my credit card balance this month. I’d like that removed. 

BoA: I’d be happy to look in to that for you, but first need you to verify your identity.

[we discuss my personal information to verify the account]

BoA: Okay, Mr Ninja. I’ve got your account pulled up here. I’ve just removed the fee. Is there anything else I can do? 

Me: Uhh, nope. Thanks. 

It was actually that painless. He didn’t ask me why I incurred the penalty. He didn’t ask me why I thought they should remove it. I didn’t have to threaten to cancel my card or take my business elsewhere.

I simply asked to have the fee removed and he did it. 

I always hear horror stories about credit card fees and late penalties, and I’m sure they are all justified, but so far my only experience with them was shockingly positive.

Have you ever incurred a fee that you tried to have removed or reduced? Were you successful in your endeavors? 

1 Margaret

It had been over 6 years since I sold stuff on eBay. Did you know they charge a 10% fee of the final auction sale and shipping costs??

I apparently missed that huge detail and was charged over $160 since I was really selling a l lot of stuff to declutter! I was shocked and called Ebay, and similar to your experience I got a little empathy and then a quick, no problem – we’ll refund you the full amount!

Less than 5 minutes, saved over $160!! #winning. I have a feeling it helped that I was a member since 2002!

2 Brenda @Supermoney

First off, thank you! I’m not too smart when it comes to credit cards (I only have one that I pay and forget until I have to pay again), so I figured that the one late fee that I was recently charged was just something I had to live with. I made my payment on time, as usual, but it didn’t post until the next day–too late.

After reading this post I called Chase Slate, asked just like you did if I could have the fee removed, and he said “Of course, $25 will be added back to your account in 2-3 business days. Is there anything else…” I didn’t have to explain anything, or discuss the situation, it was just done. Easy as pie, and surprisingly simple. ~Brenda from Supermoney.com.

3 Kate@GoodnightDebt

I had a snafu a couple years ago when I was switching banks. I normally auto pay my CC, but when I switched out the account information there was a 1 month delay before it was effective. Result: Late.
When I called about the late fee, it was as painless as your experience. Removed with no questions.
Has anyone had any luck removing or being credited for interest on these late “whoops” payments? I was so shocked by the ease of removing the late payment, I forgot to ask.

4 Monica M.

The same thing just happened to me last month with American Express, but the guy said I was one day late and he couldn’t remove the charges. I ended up paying the $25 (on a balance of $30 really??), but wish I was more aggressive and asked to speak with his supervisor.

However – I also recently called AT&T because my promotional rate ended and jumped from $29.95 to $56 dollars, and in ten minutes, dropped down to $24.95 for six months. Holy crap!

5 Noreen

I don’t even call anymore. I email Chase from their secure message center in my account and it’s all taken care of (one overdraft fee earlier this year cause I was stupid).

I recently got their Chase Freedom card and inquired about two promotions, $200 back after spending $500 and $25 back for adding an authorized user.

Emailed them and they said they were sorry but those promos weren’t part of my original sign up, but they’d be happy to apply them and make an exception!

Bam, $225 back.

6 Michelle

I had the same situation with BofA on my checking account – 3 overdraft fees were reversed without even asking me why/how i over drafted. This happened a couple of years ago and I’ve been a loyal customer ever since. I have worked for different financial institutions that offer me employee benefits for opening up an account with them, but I have been sticking to my BofA account =)

7 Newbie

Over the last 2 decades, I’ve had 2 whoops moments with paying my credit cards on time – clerical errors on my part. Both times, I made a phone call and the interest charges were reversed. I didn’t even have to ask for it specifically. I was trying to make sure that the interest wasn’t continuing to accrue.

I think as long as it’s a rare occurrence and you’re polite, they’ll waive fees and charges.

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