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How to Negotiate with Creditors, Part 2
Get Late Fees Removed Easily
Even when you're dealing with the line workers, the customer service reps, 99% or more have the power to do things like eliminate a late fee on your credit card account at least one time every 12 months. But they are not going to volunteer do this. They won't call you up and offer it to you.
So if you don't know to initiate that conversation and ask for a late fee to be eliminated or ask for an over-the-limit charge to be waived, it won't happen. I personally have done this several times where, either I have been traveling or busy or just simply forgot. And for whatever reason, a bill went unpaid. If I ever saw a late fee on my credit card statement, even if the check got mailed and processed in the credit card company's system the day after the due date, I would immediate call up the company and ask them to waive the late fee. In the three or four times I've done this, the customer service rep took a look at my track record, agree that it was an aberration, and immediately removed the late fee.
You can call them up and do the same thing. You'll find that the operator will say something like "OK, I can waive that fee for you as a courtesy," or "I can remove this charge this time." Obviously, this is not something you should abuse. You can't try to take advantage of the system by paying your Visa, MasterCard, or other credit card bills late every other month, and then expecting to call up your creditors and constantly get late fees removed. That won't work.
When you call, you don't even need to give a reason. (You can, if you have a good one.) But it's probably best to simply say, "I noticed a late charge on my most recent statement. I'm sorry the bill was inadvertently paid late. I'll make sure it doesn't happen again. In the meantime, I'm calling to request that you waive the late fee in this instance."
Having a good payment track record will undoubtedly work in your favor when you make this kind of request, but even for those of you with occasional lapses, you can get late payments removed at least once a year.
Handle Simple Matters via Telephone
While certain deals you strike with bill collectors should be cemented in writing, don't make the mistake of thinking every correspondence you have with your credit card company needs to be put down in black and white. No sense in sitting down at a computer, mulling over a situation, and spending 30 minutes typing a letter over something minor. Just pick up the phone and call the toll-free number listed on your credit card statement, and explain the situation. If it is clearly something that is an error on their part, nine times out of ten, you can get it readily resolved over the telephone.
The challenge for you is to follow up after they say, 'Yes, we will waive that fee," or 'You're right, we were not supposed to charge you that annual fee." You'll have to check your statement for the next month or two to make sure the fees have been removed, credited to your account, or that whatever error you spotted has been fixed.
Article Title : How to Negotiate with Creditors, Part 2
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