Saturday’s Saving Tips – Avoid Late Fees (even on late payments!)

Clearly, the easiest way to avoid a late fee on a bill is to pay the bill on time.

But, inevitably, at least once in your life, you misplace the phone bill and find it after it’s past due or your toddler throws the water bill in the garbage, or you forget to write the check and only mail the credit card payment stub in the envelope.  And sometimes, you’re just a day or two behind.

Yep, I’ve done alllllllllllllll those things.  But, I don’t pay late fees.  Why?  It’s simple, I take the time to call and confess my mistake and point out that I am a good customer.

If you’ve been a customer of the phone company for 5 years and in those five years you’ve never been late and just this once, you forgot to mail the bill and it didn’t get there on time, don’t hesitate to call and point out that you’ve been a customer for five years and this is the first late payment and could they please forgive it just this once?   And they will.

Or if you’ve been with a credit card company for 8 years and you mail them an envelope with no check and you don’t even realize your mistake until they send you a letter saying they’ve jacked up your interest rate and charged you a $75 late fee…call.  I did.  I blessed them out for being so harsh on customer with an impeccable credit score who’s been with them for 8 years and never missed a payment.  They corrected my account.  No late fee.  No increase in interest rate.

Companies do want to make their customers happy.  Especially long-time customers with a good history.

Clearly, you could not call Visa every other month asking them to waive the late fee again.  You can’t expect to be chronically late and get out of the fees.

But for the occasional slip up don’t think you have to suck it up and pay the fee.  Call the company and save you some money! Kohl’s even has an automated approval for waiving their late fee!  Obviously, I’m sure there is a record and you couldn’t do it every month.  But it gives you a number to press if you’re calling about a late fee and then it says, “Your late fee has been waived.”  I didn’t even have to talk to a person!

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