Lenders and credit card companies assess a late fee the second your payment is late. Late fee amounts vary by lender, but can be a significant amount of cash. However, if you are late, a quick phone call and the right tone of voice can have that late fee rescinded.
My automobile loan lender for whatever reason does not allow online payments, so each month I mail a check. I normally send it well in advance of the due date. However last month with the way the weekend landed as well as there not being mail on Veteran’s day my payment was processed one day late, resulting in a late fee.
Late Fee Rescinded
Keep the following in mind when dealing with a late fee:
- Call Immediately: I knew there was the possibility my payment may not get there on time, so I was checking daily if it has been processed. The day the late fee was assessed I called. Calling immediately helps portray you as someone who pays attention to your finance and frame the late payment as a rare mistake.
- Make It Rare: Lenders may forgive a late payment once in a great while, but likely will not help you out if you are habitually late.
- Give An Explanation: Explain why your payment was late and be remorseful. Remember, you’re talking to another human being on the other end. Even if they can rescind a late fee, they don’t have to. If you’re a jerk about the situation, you may be stuck with the extra fee.
- Get Reporting Information: While you’ve got a representative on the phone, ask if the late payment was reported to credit reporting bureaus. Most lenders will not send info to the credit bureaus until you are more than 30 days late, but it’s good to verify if you may or may not have a late payment mark on your credit report.
They had every right to charge me a late fee. After explaining what happened, and a quick check revealed I had 3 payments left on my loan and had never been late, the representative rescinded the late fee. It never hurts to try, because just a few minutes could save you from having that extra fee added to your next payment.
How about you, EOD Nation, have you ever called to ask to have a late fee rescinded? Did it work?