My Personal Finance Journey

Personal finance observation, musing and decisions in a journey toward financial independence by 2020 with at least $3 million.

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A $215 Refund

Contributed by mm | April 12, 2008 8:55 PM PST

pastdue.jpgThe workload surge in the last two months caused many slips in my life. Not only was I forced into a "sabbatical leave" from blogging, I didn't even notice that I have fallen behind on a monthly credit card payment.

The card at issue is a Discover Miles card, which I took advantage back in November for its 0% APR balance transfer offer (after a $75 balance transfer charge). While I was only a few days behind the due date, I was slapped with a $39 late payment penalty and a $176 interest charge.

I have to admit this incident is not typical of me; I have been meticulously managing all bills for many years and almost never missed a payment. Now it is very hard to swallow that my first miss in years set me back for $215.

After the initial shock, I figured out I can try by luck since I have been a Discover customer for many years (though, admittedly, I have only charged the card for $30 in total -- for all my previous three Discover cards, I only used the card for its generous initial offer of 0% APR balance transfer). Therefore I sent a quick message to the customer service:

Hi, I'm sorry for late payment for a couple of days. I have always been a good customer with Discover and just made the payment today. Is it possible you can remove the late payment and finance charge as a courtesy? Thanks!

Luckily, my probe was met with warm hospitality:

Thank you for your message regarding the Late Fee on your Discover Card Account. I understand your concern with a fee being applied to your Account and I am happy to inform you that I have refunded this Fee and reinstated your promotional APR and applied a credit for the finance charges per your request. Discover Card offers several payment options to help you take control of your Account and avoid Late Fees. Here are some of the options available to you: ...
The next time I checked, my account was credited back the $39 late fee and the $176 interest charge. Obviously it doesn't hurt to ask nicely.

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This Post Has Received 26 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.

John Commented on April 12, 2008

Glad to see you're back to blogging. I hope you make sure your 0% APR Balance Transfer balance is still in effect, as sometimes a missed payment like this can cause it to be thrown off so you will see finance charges next month. Just FYI. maybe it's not.

G.E. Miller Commented on April 13, 2008

Hey MM. I had the exact same thing happen with HSBC. They refunded as well when I asked nicely. I'm all about using credit cards wisely, but it is possible to slip from time to time.

SingleGuyMoney Commented on April 13, 2008

I'm glad that they were nice enough to refund your money. In this environment, I'm sure they want to try and keep all their good paying customers.

Tony Tovar Commented on April 13, 2008

YAY!!! Congrats. If at first you don't succeed, persistence is key! :D Its happen to me before. Sometimes you just have to shuffle through some Customer Service Reps.


AyJay Commented on April 13, 2008

You should also check your other credit card APRates asap. One missed payment, even when it is on a different card, can trigger your other promotional rates to rise significantly.

Josh Commented on April 13, 2008

I accidently missed a payment at Citi and they were also nice enough to waive the late fee and interest charge after asking nicely. I thought I had made payment online but I think I may have accidently forgot to submit / confirm the transaction.

AC Commented on April 14, 2008

Coincedently, I have the same Discover card and did a recent balance transfer to it, and forgot that I had to make a payment until I read this posting about your Discover card. I was 2 days late as well.:-/ Hope they refund me too!

Xudong Commented on April 15, 2008

To be honest, i am quite excited to see your journey and looking forward to the upcoming posts. I am just starting to think of the 1st 1M USD to enable my dream in China. Wish you the best:-) By the way, China is expected to change dramaticly with great progress,play significant role in the world economy and during globalization. Therefore, i just want to have myself well prepared to serve Chinese better with my professional skills. As a 28 year-old Chinese,i am quite eager to see the great changes from China and myself.

AC Commented on April 15, 2008

Looks like they refunded my late fee and finance charges as well.


Rosemary Rugnetta Commented on April 16, 2008

You're so right. If you are always on time with payments and call the bank about the charges, they usually will take them off. Some good things do happen!!

Todd Commented on April 16, 2008

I have had a similar experience with a credit card company. People need to know to ask.

John Commented on April 16, 2008

and that's why i use an automated check issuing system.

Roman Commented on April 19, 2008

It always helps to ask nicely, what the worst thing that can happen they will say no?

Miranda Commented on April 23, 2008

Thanks for sharing. This happened to me as well. If you are a good customer, with a good history, most credit card companies will waive a fee. It's when it starts becoming a regular thing that it gets messy.

David Commented on April 23, 2008

I had that happen to me as well - managing too many cards and accounts can lead to one slipping through the crack. I have been trying to cut back lately so it doesn't happen again!

KaeCee Commented on April 24, 2008

I also slipped up with Discover not too long ago, but I so totally forgot the payment that it was over 30 days late and I received a collection call at work before I realized I had forgotten the payment. In my conversation with the CSR, I never even had to ask for a refund of the late charges, but I did have to pay the interest charges for the following month's payment (I usually pay the bill in full every month). They were also kind enough to not report me as 30 days delinquent to the credit bureaus.

Jason Commented on April 24, 2008

I don't buy the had time to buy and sell your positions while you were "traveling" for this screwed up billion dollar P&L. What are you hiding Daniel-son?

You need to address this or your creditability is nothing.

Hari Iyer Commented on April 25, 2008

This has happened to me 2 times in the last 5 years and on both occasions I was able to get the Customer Resp to look at my history of paying their bills promptly and they were nice enough to waive it. Note that it does not matter whether those reps are based in India or U.S it still works. I have good opinions about Citi CS.

Hari Iyer Commented on April 25, 2008

This has happened to me 2 times in the last 5 years and on both occasions I was able to get the Customer Reps to look at my history of paying their bills "promptly" and they were nice enough to waive it. Note that it does not matter whether those reps are based in India or U.S it still works. I have good opinions about Citi CS.

Rebate Processor Commented on April 26, 2008

This happened to me once, and it took a lot of phone time before I could finally get them to reverse the charge (I've been an on-time customer for years!) Commented on April 27, 2008

It happens to the best of us! What's important is how you recover...

Jason Commented on April 28, 2008

I still don't buy that you "disappeared" for 2 months and left the blog hanging....

SOMETHING STINKS ABOUT THIS WHOLE THING!!!! Bow to your master daniel-son for uncovering your deception.

Mike Commented on April 29, 2008

Wow, amazing that customer service still exists...

Does Discover have some kind of grace period so you don't look at universal default issues with other creditors?

Might seem like a newbie question but just heard that universal defaults can cause a lot of problems to a lot of folks...

Jason Commented on May 2, 2008

See....the incredible blogger has disappeared again!!!

Folks, I hope I am not ruining your impressions but this dude is an operative in China. All the messages he posts are actually hidden messages to the Chinese intelligence officials.

For example, his statement above "The workload surge in the last two months caused many slips in my life. Not only was I forced into a "sabbatical leave" from blogging, I didn't even notice that I have fallen behind on a monthly credit card payment."

This actually is coded meaning..."Fear doesn't exist in my dojo, does it?"....which to everyone back in China means that this is the all clear!!! Operation is in progress.

appfunds Commented on May 4, 2008

Looking forward to new posts.


Pamela Grundy Commented on June 8, 2008

Astounding and outstanding! I had this happen recently with a department store card I've had for at least 10 years with nary a payment issue, and I was so irritated I just paid off the card and closed it. I realize that isn't always possible with a major credit card.

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