October 26, 2008

Sometimes All You Have To Do Is Ask

We have two major credit cards that we use and I try to pay the balances in full every month...not always possible, but more times than not I am able to do so. Over the last couple of months, we had accrued some expenses that we put on our Visa card and I didn't get it paid in full until last month's payment. I wrote a check for the entire balance due and felt relieved to have that out of the way.

This week, a statement came from our Visa company and there was a balance due of $3.25. Since I know we never use the card for such a low amount, I figured it must be related to some sort of fee. Why would there be a fee? I know I paid the balance in full and on time, but I started to doubt myself. I almost just arranged for payment through my bank's bill pay system, but I decided to call the company and inquire first.

The customer service rep explained that I had, indeed, paid the balance in full and on time, but due to the revolving terms of my credit card agreement, a fee was assessed for carrying a balance for more than thirty days. While I had been making payments every month, and on time, there was a period where some sort of balance still remained on the account for more than thirty days, so hence the fee. Since apparently I didn't have a leg to stand on regarding the terms of my contract (always read the fine print!), I was prepared to pay the $3.25 and be done with it. The nice rep on the other end, however, said that since I did pay the balance in full and on time (and probably because I was being calm and pleasant), she would waive the fee for me. She sounded sympathetic to the fact that I would have to write a check for $3.25!

So, taking the 10 minutes out of my day to make the phone call paid off in the form of $3.25 saved and my faith in human kindness restored. Sometimes all you have to do is make the effort and ask the questions.

*Note to self: Next time, remember the revolving terms of your account!

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