Ask Your Credit Card Company to Reverse Fees

Ask Your Credit Card Company to Reverse Fees

Have you ever been hit by “accidental” credit card fees? By this, I mean fees that arose from an unintentional late payment, or some other mishap. I have. In fact, I just discovered this weekend that last month’s auto-payment for Amex Delta Platinum SkyMiles card never happened.

As you may recall, I applied for this card of the summer for a variety of reasons – primarily the bonus miles, waived baggage fees, and fee waiver for mileage redemptions. It took me a couple of months to sit down and set up the auto-payment, but I eventually got it done.

Unfortunately, I apparently screwed something up, and the payment never got made. Sure enough, when I logged in to check our account this weekend, I saw a big red warning that our account was past due.

Care to guess how much this little hiccup was going to cost us?

Interest and fees

I quickly navigated over to our credit card statement and reviewed the damage. We got hit in three main areas:

  • Interest charges: $66.51
  • Late payment fee: $25.00
  • Fee to reinstate lost miles: $29.00

That last one came from the fact that you lose any miles earned during the preceding month if you fail to make your payment on time. Lost miles aren’t a huge deal, but not getting them sort of defeats the purpose of using a frequent flyer credit card.

Begging for mercy

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

Any time you get hit with unexpected fees from your credit card, you should call the card issuer and ask them for a reprieve. Unless you’re chronically late, there’s a good chance that they’ll refund both the fees and the finance charges. And if they don’t? Oh well, you only lost about five minutes trying.

When I called Amex, I simply explained what had happened, and gave her a quick rundown of our history – we’ve hard one card or another with Amex since 1997, and have always paid our bill in full. She tapped a few keys on her computer and then offered to refund both the late fee and interest charges.

When I asked about the mileage reinstatement fee, she said that all customers are entitled to a one-time fee waiver, and that you just have to call and ask for it. I’ll actually have to call back on that one, however, as our payment won’t hit until tomorrow, and they can’t reinstate fees until your account is current.

Time is money

While it’s true that time is money, I know very few people whose times is worth more than $120.51 (after taxes, no less) for the five minutes that I spent fixing this.

Like I said above, you have nothing to lose. If you’re ever hit by a fee such as this, you’re making a huge mistake if you don’t call and ask for forgiveness.

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5 Responses to “Ask Your Credit Card Company to Reverse Fees”

  1. Anonymous

    Over the past 10 years I’ve been late I think 4 times and when I asked to have them reversed I was successful 3 out of the 4 times. So 75% success is not bad and save a good chunk of change too.

  2. Anonymous

    I’ve had something similar happen a few times. In my 9+ year history with one card, I’ve been late maybe 5 times. But they’ve been spread out over those 9 years. Each time I’ve called and reminded them how good of a customer I am and each time they’ve said ‘OK, just this once, don’t make it a habit’. Any time I’ve ever had a customer service rep say no, I call back and ask someone else.

    The automatic payment things is annoying. I just set up my internet to be paid that way, except managed to miss the ‘may take up to a month to take effect’. Needless to say I wasn’t pleased when I realized that my account was past due one day because the company had yet to get their act together (in many ways).

  3. BG: The terms of the reward program are that you only get the miles for that month if you pay on time, which seems reasonable. If you don’t, you forfeit the miles, but you can have them reinstated (for a fee) if you wish.

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