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Sunday, September 20, 2020  
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I’ve been gouged for $99! Are bank charges negotiable?

Scott Bilker Scott Bilker is the founder of DebtSmart.com and author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card DebtCredit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. Receive the 5-Year Loan Spreadsheet when you subscribe to his email newsletter.

Hi Scott,

This just happened to me in the last few weeks.

I spoke to my bank (Bank of America aka BOA) about overdraft protection, which they said was a free service. I agreed to sign up for it. My overdraft protection is linked to our Visa card with BOA.

I wrote a check, which would have caused an overdraft, but since I had the overdraft protection, they took out 3k on our Visa account. Now we got the bill from Visa, which has both a transaction fee finance charge of $99.00 and a periodic rate finance charge (I suppose that’s on the 3k we borrowed).

My question is: Is this a charge that I might successfully have waived? Or, shall I resign myself to paying? If it is fightable, any tips on what I might say to them?

Thanks in advance!

Marv

Marv,

They really ripped you off on this one. Sure, you have overdraft protection, BUT I’m positive that if you do go over, then the amount is taken from your Visa as a cash advance. That means they hit you with a cash advance fee and the cash advance fee interest rate, which is probably around 20%.

Sneaky, sneaky.

Yes, you can certainly try to get that waived! I don’t know if it’s “fightable” because it’s probably in their terms that you agreed with, but so what! If they want to keep you as a customer, then they need to waive or reduce that fee.

Call them and say, “Hey, I just noticed this $99 charge. What’s that about?.” They’ll explain. Then you say, “Hmmm, I really didn’t understand those terms. Could you waive that fee for me?” They may or may not. If not, ask to speak to a supervisor, and give them the same spiel. If the super is not doing it, then tell them, “Listen, I’ve been a customer for X years, but I do have other cards I can use. I would rather use BOA, but I feel I’m being gouged, and I don’t like that feeling. If you cannot accommodate me this time, I may close my account or simply stop using this card.” If he comes back with, “I cannot waive that fee,” then say, “how about reducing it to $50. Something! Something to show me that I should continue to do business with BOA.”

Call them now! Make them waive or reduce that fee.

Also, please let me know what happens.

Scott

Scott

I just called and went through the spiel you wrote for me.

She at first said that she couldn’t waive a charge for a transaction that appears on the statement.

When I then asked for a supervisor, she said she was an account manager and I could talk to her. I then went into the second part of your spiel in a nice low calm voice.

She asked me to hold while she checked something.

When she came back, she said “Sir, we will be able to waive the charge seeing as you have been a customer since 2001.”

I then thanked her and asked her what the charges would have been had I not had the overdraft protection, and she said that was not her area. (She’s in the credit card department). I could speak to the bank itself and find out more.

I am thinking of just removing the overdraft protection. I’ll just have to keep an eye on our balance like I actually have been doing all these years until I signed up for the overdraft protection program. I guess that made me lower my guard and not check up on my account balance, blissfully trusting in the bank’s overdraft protection.

Once again, Scott, you saved me a good couple of bucks ($99.00) just by teaching me what to say.

My wife will be happy to hear about this!

Marv

READER COMMENTS
“Realistic. Suggestions are easy to follow.”
–Umesha N Shetty

“Negotiating fees with a bank is a wonderful thing to do. However, for the current environment the article failed to mention that bank got TARP funds and because the bank got help with taxpayer dollars should help its customers too.”
–Ben Gamoran

“It was very personable. I think that you are getting a message out to check your fine print to what you are agreeing to pay. There should be a way to have it up front as to what your fees are and not need to use a magnifying glass. Maybe you could do a article on life and critical illness insurance on lines of credit or charge cards. This is very expensive and are you getting what you’re thinking. They seem to charge twice on the same account if it is joint. The fee is charged per person insured on the same balance. The fees are shown as 1 amount. It isn’t broken into each person fee.”
–Berkins

“BaA also has overdraft protection that is not linked to the credit card. I’ve had it for years (though perhaps I’m grandfathered in–the account was originally BayBank, then Bank of Boston, then Fleet, THEN BoA. At least two of their account offerings allows no-fee overdraft protection, but their plans vary by state, too. But it’s best to follow your advice, Scott, and not spend money that you don’t have! Thanks for a very useful newsletter. (Personally, I am about debt-free. One car payment, and the credit card has only the auto repairs from Monday…)”
–John

This entry was posted in Credit Cards, Debt Negotiation, Free Content Library. Bookmark the permalink. Read more articles by Scott Bilker. (Also see articles by all authors and articles in all categories.)



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