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Removing Finance Charges From My Chase Freedom Credit Card

by The Happy Rock on February 16, 2009

cutting-the-credit-card-cakeAfter two months of procrastination, I finally called Chase to ask that they fully remove any finance charges related to my first time late payment offense.  Did I ever mention that I hate making phone calls even if it is just calling a service rep that I don’t know to get late fees and finance charges removed?  The introvert in me often hopes that avoiding the calls will make them go away…that rarely works.

The thing about this charge was that it left me seething.  Every time I thought about it, I got upset.  Upset because:

  • One 8 hour late payment resulted in about $100 in late fees and finance charges, $39 late fees and $51 dollars of finance charges that were spread out over two months of statements.
  • The bill was due on a Sunday and the payment was ready to be picked up on Sunday, but they don’t process payments on Sunday.
  • As someone who has paid their bill on time for the good part of ten years, I don’t like being treated as a delinquent.
  • My attempts at removing the fees(5 emails) had failed thus far and I suspected that if I talked to the right person they would remove the fees.

The only thing that kept me using the card is $500 in cash back in just  one year of using the card.

After some prayer I was finally motivated to the point of action.  I armed my self with all the relevant information which included the statements for the credit cards and for my bank payment.  holding strong to the fact that they thought of me as a valuable customer.  They had just raised my limit to $5,000 in a slow economy.  I didn’t even plan to try and use ‘I own a personal finance site that talks about your company’ line.

When I called I got a reasonable customer service rep who listened intently as I laid out my case as strongly and politely as I could. She started to give me an annoyed scripted response about how the due date can fall on any day, but I politely persisted and said that she had to get a manager to remove the fees.  A friendly manager came on and I politely told the story again and added stronger language about how I have one credit card and switched to Chase because of their service, but now every time I use the card I want to cancel.  I continually stressed how I was a good loyal customer and how if this was resolved I would be a loyal customer again.

She relented and offered to remove half of the fees($26). I was placated.  Not completely happy, but placated nonetheless.   If I wasn’t averaging $40 a month in cash rewards from the card, I would be much more upset.  Plus at $26 replaced in ten minutes, it feels like earning $156 an hour.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

John @ Curious Cat Investing Blog February 16, 2009 at 9:33 am

Congratulations, I have done similar things occasionally. A quick phone call can pay off nicely. I have also dropped one card that did not respond in what I considered a fair way.

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Discover February 16, 2009 at 10:44 am

I am surprised that they didn’t remove all the charges considering your loyalty. I guess times really have changed.

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David @ PYF February 16, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Good job. $26 is better than nothing, especially when it only took 10 minutes of your time.

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Benjamin D. February 16, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Nice work! Although, I would have kept pushing until they got rid of the late fees and interest completely!

I would give them another call tomorrow and talk to a different manager! They will give in eventually!

Nice credit card cake picture by the way!

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Grog February 17, 2009 at 10:03 am

I totally understand your frustration. It seems as though the customer service reps do indeed have cookie cutter answers for every problem we may throw at them. In the end, the credit card companies seem to be the few that are prospering in this market. Total Opportunist!

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Scott @ The Passive Dad February 17, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Glad to see you didn’t stand for the CC company games and got the refund. I too enjoy the CC cash back programs, but for many people the savings don’t add up if they receive a late fee. I have a friend who loves a certain airline credit card because they rack up many points, but they also get charged interest and late fees. I tell them it would be cheaper to pay retail for tickets and not use the airline card. They still disagree :)

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Kristy @ Master Your Card February 18, 2009 at 2:30 am

It’s good that you were able to get something, but I’m a little surprised that they only removed $26. Anytime I have issues with my Chase card, they’ve always been super helpful…of course, I rarely have issues so I don’t know. But, I also used to work for Chase and I think my account is still flagged as an employee account, so maybe that’s it! 😉 At any rate, I would have told the manager that wasn’t good enough and stressed that you’ve always had on time payments and if they wanted to provide good customer service, they’d give you the courtesy of refunding ALL of the fees this one time. But, I’m a hard ass and don’t pay for something I don’t think I should have to pay for. Now, I was accidentally late once with Chase and got dinged with that $39 fee and finance charges and I happily paid that because it was my error; however, if a company is going to have a due date fall on a Sunday, they need to express that the payment should be received by end of business Friday in order to receive credit. I don’t even think Chase offers a “rush” payment for situations like that, so it’s really not good service to cardholders.

Anyway, I’m glad you made the call and got a little something back! $26 is better than nothing, which would have been the case if you had not made the call. Good for you!

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Rose Martin February 21, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Congratulations on getting half the charges removed. Sometimes customer service reps arent really sure what to do so it’s always good to talk to someone who can make some changes.

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Kate February 26, 2009 at 3:11 pm

It’s good that a reasonable customer service rep dealt with your case, because sometime they are not helpful at all. Just one tip to everyone: If you see that the rep is not helpful just hang up the phone and call again and talk to another person. One time I had this experience. I talked over 1 hour with a person and he could not help me at all and he told me that he cannot take the late fees off my account. But I called back tomorrow and I talked with another rep who removed the late fees from my account in 15 minutes. Anyway, my point is sometime the rep might not be helpful or might not be as experienced to know all viable options, so dont give up and call em again.

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Krunk February 28, 2009 at 6:29 pm

That’s why I always schedule my payments online when I get my monthly bill. I always schedule to have to paid on the due date and then I can just forget about it. If the due date is on a Sunday, they have to deal with that since I did officially schedule to pay them on that day. Of course I add that transaction to Quicken so I know what my expected balance is at any time.

However, given that, I still managed to screw up a few months back. I signed up for paperless statements and one month, they just stopped sending emails to me. I also didn’t receive any statements in the mail. It wasn’t until I signed into Chase to look up some rewards terms that I noticed I hadn’t paid my credit card for the previous month. For a $10 bill, I was charged $39 in late fees and $1 in finance charges.

I called in of course and since this was a 1st time offense, they removed the charges. However, next month, I didn’t receive the bill again, so I tried turned of paperless statement and turned it back on and the following month, the emails finally started coming back in.

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Mo July 23, 2009 at 9:29 am

I found this entry when I Googled “finance charges over two months for a late fee.” I’m in a similar situation with my Chase Rewards card where I have been a good, loyal and on-time paying customer for over 10 years, but happened to miss a payment one month recently. BUT, I noticed it before the due date and quickly set up the payment from my bank. Realizing it wouldn’t make it there in time, I called Chase to see if I should just pay over the phone to avoid fees (even though my bank payment was on the way). I didn’t mind double paying and having that as credit for the next month. But the CSR assured me that I could just have the fees removed after the payment from the bank was processed, which was certainly going to be late. So sure enough, the payment was late, and I called in and had a late fee and finance charge easily removed. But the following month, I see more finance charges, which still confuses me – why are there finance charges for two consecutive months? This time when I call in, I’m getting cookie cutter responses from the CSRs telling me things like it was a “one time courtesy” for them to credit the late fee and finance charge. I’m not understanding the courtesy though when I called ahead of time; maybe if they explained the options at that point it would make more sense. So far, I’ve called twice and they wouldn’t budge but the second time the CSR and manager I spoke to seemed a lot more polite and understanding and agreed to open a case where they will review the call I made before the payment was due and get back to me in 7 days.

I am already pretty annoyed with this whole ordeal though and have started looking into a new rewards card. This current Chase Card (transferred from my old Shell card) was giving me 5% on gas and 1% on everything else with no limits and the rewards credit would be given to me right on my next statement. I always knew there had to be better options out there but I liked the simplicity of instant credits instead of points to accumulate and then manually redeem, like most other cards. Of course it was a bit of laziness on my part too having had this card for over 10 years and attached to all my accounts (i.e. Paypal, Amazon, ez-pass, etc). Anyways, I think I’ve found a pretty good new card; it’s a Schwab Visa card which gives 2% on everything without any limits. Only catch is that your rewards get credited to a Schwab brokerage account, which you’ll have to open if you don’t already have. The brokerage account is free though and the card does not have any annual fees. I’ll just treat it more like a savings account than a brokerage account I guess.

So Chase will be losing me as a customer over a $14.10 charge which even if they credit at this point, annoyed me enough to stop being lazy and go look for a better rewards card. I guess maybe I should be thanking them instead of complaining…haha.

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Matt H December 29, 2009 at 5:08 pm

CHASE Visa = THIEVES!

Since I’ve chosen to go with “paperless billing” I rely on CHASE to send me email notifications to let me know when my credit card bill is ready to pay. The problem is they neglected to send me an email in November which resulted in a late fee ($40) AND a finance charge ($17)!

When I called to explain they never sent a notification for November and hopefully have these removed…I was told it was my fault. “It was probably in your spam folder”. Etc.. I told her I keep every deleted email and have received every other email from CHASE including the spam that THEY send me.

She could clearly see that I have paid every bill going back to 1996 before they were even due. She even admits that my history was “pretty good” as I was only late on two payments (out of 156 total!). I always pay off the balance weeks before the due date.

After all of this… “I’m sorry sir, there is absolutely nothing we can do for you”

I told her I am going to close both my credit card accounts.
“Sorry to hear that. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

She was an Accounts Supervisor too.

It makes you wonder how many other people, who rely on a email notifications to let them know their credit card statement is ready, might not have received their emails.

Credit card companies really are shady. They used to own up to their mistakes and take care of things like this. Those days are long gone.

Here’s a list of the email, payment due, payment made dates:

6/22/09 “Your credit card statement is available online” DUE DATE 7/08/09 >>>>>>>>PAID 6/26/09 ($372.20)
7/22/09 “Your credit card statement is available online” DUE DATE 8/12/09 >>>>>>>>PAID 7/30/09 ($2,171.46)
8/21/09 “Your credit card statement is available online” PAID 8/29/09 ($679.44)
9/22/09 “Your credit card statement is available online” DUE DATE 10/13/09 >>>>>>PAID on 9/26/09 ($826.88)
10/21/09 “Your credit card statement is available online” DUE DATE 11/12/09 >>>>>>PAID 10/30/09 ($1,333.41)
!!!!!!!!!!!!!NEVER RECEIVED A NOTICE FOR NOVEMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUE DATE 12/13/09 PENDING ($786.44)
12/23/09 “Your credit card statement is available online” DUE DATE 01/12/10 >>>>>>PAID 12/28 ($2,519.19)

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Paula May 30, 2011 at 8:07 am

They are!!!!!!!!!!

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Paula May 30, 2011 at 7:24 am

Today, (05/29/2011=Sunday) I just picked up my mail that was delivered yesterday Saturday. When I read my bill from Chase Freedom there was a $3.49 a finance charge according to John Bennett (the supervisor) he said that, that finance charge was for the purchased, I made for the card last October 2010 (which was still in the 0% in purchases and balance time) when I paid it off before, I even received the statement and just now the finance charge showed up in my May 2011 statement for June payment. How stupid his argument is. I have been paying my bills every month before the due dates and this is what they did to me. Just like the last time that they charge me interest because I paid in advance before the due date. How screwed up this statement is. What is wrong with these people’s brain that works in Chase Bank. I told them that I am not going to pay for it because it is unreasonable. I accidental use this card last February, to pay my tax preparer so, when I realized it, I went back there the next day so, she cancel it, and she even cut my card in their machine when I told her that, I’m not using it anyway that is also what I told the representative and John Bennett of what happened to my Chase Freedom card. The following month March 2011 there was a finance charge for the purchased for $4.08, so, I called and the guy as I explained that it was cancel as he can see in his monitor also that it was cancel, he adjusted it and now here comes $3.49 interest charge again from the purchased I made last October 2010 that was paid in full and no interest showing the next month statement which was November 2010. Think about this Chase stupidity. Chase bank are full of stupid people working there. You see, one person stupid argument will include ever one of them that works there especially this person who happens to be their supervisor.

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Paula May 30, 2011 at 7:32 am

I told John Bennett that, I can pay this off tomorrow but I will not pay that interest or finance charges that, they imposed in my card. I am going to close this account. I have Chase/Best Buy, I will closed this one next month. I only owe $400.00 for the purchased, I made from Best Buy. I have Chase/Amazon, I am going to closed this account also next month, I only owe $288.35. No more Chase card for me, I paid this every month for my purchases, no problem there but in the name that, it is Chase, I am going to closed them all, I do not want anything to do with them again.

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