Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Accidentally late indeed
by Art Blanchet

Art Blanchet and his co-host Bill Quigley talk about the things that matter second-most in your life, Your Home and Your Money. Art brings a real estate and financing career spanning two decades into play with his research, experience, and own perspective on what is going on out there in Home-Ownership Land. Together with Bill they provide solid information and colorful interviews into your life--pick and choose what you need and just enjoy the rest.

Art Blanchet

Hey Scott,

"Accidentally" late indeed! I had the same issue arise recently (that you talked about in One Day Late, Yeah Right)--was running short on time (my card gives me essentially a weekend to get the payoff--we don't keep a balance) to get my check in the mail. No way can the bill just sit here a few days--we gotta move on it!

Anyway, this one sat a few days, and I needed to send it--destination was about 200 miles away--major city to major city--but I still USPSed it registered mail requiring a signature confirmation of delivery. Next statement--Voila!--a late payment fee of $39.00.

I contacted the company and asked them why and was informed the payment had arrived late. I countered with the tracking information--emailed it to them--that showed the payment had arrived the day before the due date and had the signature of one of their employees. Slam-dunk right?

Wrong. Instead of apologizing for the clerical error (I really don't believe it was an accident on their part), I was chastised that I need to mail the payment in a week early. I told them it was none of their concern when the payment was mailed--I could FedEx it if I wanted, but rather the date they received it was their interest. Of course that fell on empty ears.

They removed the charge (glad I had the proof). Now I will find another primary card for my use--at my convenience. I don't shoot myself in the foot trying to out-draw the other guy. I'm looking for the right card carefully as I am an adherent to the adage "better the enemy you know than the one you don't know." It's all kind of sad...

I have seen exposes of collection agencies deliberately losing payments internally to up the late payment and over-limit antes, but not of credit card companies doing this. However, had I not had the proof, I'd be a $39 victim of what I can generously call a "mistake."

Do you think "they" record mailing dates and automatically add late fees to a sampling based on that alone?

Great website, great advice, great column. Keep it coming Scott!

Art Blanchet

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