Thursday, November 15, 2012

Get a bank fee waived just by asking customer service.

Confession time: Despite my so-far-perfect record of paying my credit card bill on time and thus avoiding interest fees, I had a little trouble this month. Strangely, it was because I was SO good at paying my bill. But I contacted my bank, Chase, and traded on my good customer history, and (like Trent suggests) they quickly waived the charge for me. Details below.

I've fallen into the habit of making one or two credit card payments per month when I receive my paychecks -- usually I pay off the entire balance due long before its deadline, and add some cash into the account to offset future purchases. (This is a good way to avoid being left holding the bag of a looming credit card bill if your paycheck suddenly stops.)

So when I got the statement from October 6th (for purchases in September and early October), I turned around and paid it off the next day. Now, I hadn't made any new charges since the end of that billing cycle, so my entire outstanding balance was the amount of the October 6th bill (due November 3rd). I tried to do my usual: make a payment that rounds up to the next dollar... and couldn't. The system wouldn't let me make a payment over my total outstanding balance. I guess that makes sense. So I made the maximum allowed, which was about $1.25 less than the outstanding balance/balance due. I did this the day after I got the bill. And then I forgot about it.

Until I was charged $4.15 for "purchase interest" on November 7th. D'oh!

I *tried* to pay off my balance in full. I ended up paying the amount that Chase would let me. And then I was stuck with more interest than the amount left due?? That's not cool.

So I sent a brief message to Chase and asked them to correct the fee. I pointed out that I'd always paid my balance in full. (I didn't get into the details of that bill and not being able to overpay, but I was prepared to do so in a response.) And a couple hours later I got a response explaining that I'd had a small amount due on the October bill, but they'd waived the fee. (Having written a few of those "one-time exception" responses myself, I recognized the no-frills format.)

That's all I wanted. And I got it because I asked.

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