Legally speaking, a credit card company does not have to waive a late fee if you are late on a credit card payment. However, most credit card companies have some flexibility in this area for good customers or extreme situations, you just have to be willing to call your creditor on the phone and try.
Compare your current rates and fees with the online credit card finder now!
If you are constantly late on your credit card payments, getting your fee waived will be next to impossible. If, however, you have always made on time payments, call your creditor and ask them to waive the fee. If there is a particular situation that caused you to miss your on time payment, explain it, not all creditors are unreasonable. If the company is not flexible it is time to find a new credit card.
I had a family emergency, are there laws protecting me in this case?
No, unfortunately, there are no laws protecting you from late fees due to a family emergency. According to the Federal Reserve, there are laws protecting you from excessive fees and there are caps on fees but those laws don’t apply to specific personal situations.
It is very likely that a creditor will waive your late fees if you have a history of on time payments if:
- You had a death in the family
- Were admitted to the hospital
- Were tending to a sick family member
Now, they may require you to provide proof that the emergency occurred via doctor’s notes, an obituary, or even a death certificate. This is because the many people who claim that they have these types of emergencies who are actually are trying to avoid paying their fees.
You do need to be aware that with automatic payment opportunities, more banks are being less flexible regarding the idea that you couldn’t make a payment because you were away. If you aren’t on an auto pay system, they may require you to sign up for one in exchange for the waived fee.
It is important to note that simply forgetting to pay your bill is no reason to cancel your credit card if the company refuses to waive the fee. The information is clearly stated in the terms and conditions of your credit card that there is a fee if you don’t pay on time. They often will provide a grace period as well.
They said they would waive the fee but they didn’t what should I do?
Any time that you call a credit card company, you need to document the date and time of the call as well as the person that you speak to. If possible, record the conversation. According to the Citizens Media Law Project it is legal to record a phone conversation without a warrant as long as both parties agree to the recording.
Creditors record all of their phone calls and announce this at the beginning of your conversation. Simply make the same announcement stating that you are recording the phone call for your records.
In fact, there are some cases where you can state the date and time of your conversation and request the creditor to listen to the recording to provide proof that you were offered a waiver of the late payment fee. While some creditors will not go the extra mile for you, some will.
The problem that you are going to face is that if you don’t have actual proof that a representative of the company offered to waive the fee, you could be out of luck. Sometimes, by providing the information regarding your conversation, the credit card company will acquiesce, sometimes they won’t. If you have a recording of the conversation, you will have better luck.
If all else fails and you truly feel that the company is giving you the runaround, and you deserve to have your fee waived, then your last recourse is to cancel your account. The problem is, in this economy, many creditors are allowing that to happen because they consider late payers a potential non-payer risk.
If you have excellent credit, however, the credit card company may fight harder to keep you as a customer, so this may be an option that works for you.
Can I cancel my credit card over the phone?
While you may be able to cancel your credit card over the phone, in most cases the creditor will request that you send them something in writing. This simply protects them in the event that you come back and claim that they canceled your account for no reason.
Because canceling a credit card in good standing can actually have a negative impact on your credit, you should consider this an option that you only consider as a last resort.
Get an online credit card comparison in seconds with the free credit card chaser tool!
- When do people write a credit card cancellation letter?
- Where can I get a list of phone numbers for credit card companies?
- Where can I find information on defaulted credit cards?
- Is there a time limitation on collecting credit card debt?
- How to Negotiate with Credit Card Companies
- How do I fight a credit card interest rate change?
- What happens when you stop paying your credit cards?