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Saturday, September 21, 2019   
 

Getting Your Overpayment Refund
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.
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Scott Bilker

Dear Scott,

I receive your newsletter and love it. Very helpful!

Recently, I have taken out a debt consolidation loan. The time from application for the loan to closing on the loan was 3 months. The consolidation loan included preprinted checks made out to each of my creditors (5) with the total balance owed at the application time.

The problem was that during the 3 months before closing, I had been paying the minimum payment. So, when the loan closed and the checks were issued, the check amount was higher than the actual balance.

I have received credit checks from all but one of the creditors for the difference. I have sent 2 letters to the customer service address requesting the account be closed and a check be issued.

It has been 2 months with no response from the creditor. I have received 2 statements showing the credit. What is the next step to getting the money back?

They owe me $179.00; too much money to walk away from. What is very upsetting to me is that, if I owed them money, I would have to pay late fees, interest and get marks on my credit report.

Sincerely,
Aimee

Aimee,

Thanks for writing! I love your attitude!

They should be required to pay you a late fee! I doubt that will ever happen, but maybe someday a law can be added to the books that would require late fees due the consumer in this situation.

I certainly have been in similar situations. By making an overpayment to any creditor, you create a credit balance. That credit balance must be returned to you. You asked for a check twice, and they haven't sent it.

Here's what I would do...

1) I'd call and speak to a customer service rep to see what's going on with the check. Maybe they sent it and the "check is in the mail."

2) If I still didn't receive the check, I'd use the credit card for my normal shopping, groceries, etc. Once I spent $179, I'd stop. If I went over $179, I'd pay them the difference and never use the card again.

3) Here's a technique you can try if you don't mind more hassle. I would do it because I'm also interested in finding out the results of creative financial techniques and telling everyone what happened. If I had credit checks issued on that credit line, I'd write myself a check for $179 and deposit it into my personal checking account.

There a few possible complications with this plan: The first is if they have already sent you a check for $179, then it would be a cash advance and subject to cash advance fees.

The second complication would be that even if they haven't issued you the check, they may still try to charge you a cash advance fee, even though it's your money! In fact, I bet they would charge you the fee. After writing the check, if I received a statement that the $179 brings my balance to zero, but I had a balance because they charged me a cash advance fee, I'd call the bank and ask to have the fee waived. They'd probably argue and say it's still a cash advance to which I would reply, "It's not an 'advance' against my credit line because it's not a loan, it's my own money!" If they still didn't waive the fee, I'd formally dispute the charge. I don't know if you want to make a mountain out of a molehill; however, it is an option.

4) Same as (3) but use the card at an ATM or do a cash-advance at a bank.

Please let me know the outcome of your situation--thanks!

Regards,
Scott

--End--

 

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