scribbledaway (scribbledaway) wrote in bad_service,

You paid early, so we're charging you a late fee!

Premier Bank. Spawns of Satan. Because we evacuated at the end of August, for a hurricane, and spent quite a lot of extra money, I was concerned that some of my payments would be late. One of those payments was to my Premier Bank Card. Because I'm generally very prompt, and I take my bills seriously, I didn't want to just be late. So I called, and I told them I was aware that I'd be charged a late fee for September, but that I was going to have no choice but to include Septembers payment in Octobers bill. I wasn't calling to try to get out of it, I was just calling to inform them. They said that would be fine, and that they would WAIVTHE LATE FEE! I was amazed.

Now, my October bill wasn't due until the 26th, but because I was including September, and I didn't want them to wait any longer than they had to, I went ahead and sent it out as soon as I got paid....and they received it on October 6th. 20 solid days early.

My November payment isn't due until the 30th, so I was surprised when I got a call saying I needed to make a payment ASAP because I was being sent to collections.  What!?!?! I asked why, the woman checked, she could not begin to see why. They saw the note about September. They saw the waived late fee. They saw the double payment for October. All appeared to be well and she said it must have been a mistake and apologized.

I got another call this morning. Same thing. Collections. I asked why. She told me I'd missed Septembers payment and I needed to pay it plus the late fee. I directed her to the note on my account. She said "hmmmm" and put me on hold.

When she came back she had it all figured out. She said she could see the note. She could see the waiver of the  late fee, and she could see the double payment in October. However. My October bill wasn't due until the 26th, and I'd paid on the 6th. Because of the evacuation they'd "extended my due date for September" (without mentioning this to me) and so the payment they received on the 6th of October actually arrived ONE DAY before the extended September billing closed. So I paid Octobers bill before Octobers billing cycle begain. By one day.  This meant that they could not apply Octobers payment to Octobers bill.  They applied the whole thing to September.

They can call me when they're concerned about their payements, but can they do the courtesy of calling me when they can't honor an existing arrangement? No indeed. They did not tell me they were not going to credit Octobers payment in October, even though the payment was clearly marked for October. Even though they'd received it in October. No. They put it all on September and then waited around to get ANOTHER October payment on the 26th. When they didnt' get it they charged me a late fee of $25 and sent me to in house collections!

When the woman had finished explaining to me that I was being charged a late fee for having paid too early, I repeated that back to her. "I paid one day too early."
"Yes ma'am"
"So I'm being charged a late fee for paying early."
"Yes ma'am."
"How can I be charged a late fee for paying early? Isn't a late fee what you get when you pay late?"
"Well September was late."
"You waived that late fee, though."
"Yes ma'am but October was a day early, so it went on September, so technically we never received it, and since it was due a week ago you have a late fee for October."
"Even though you can see that I made the payment?"
"Yes ma'am, because I can see that you made the payment, but it came in before the October billing cycle. So because you paid too early, you're payement was missed and you have to pay a late fee"
"Because I paid early."
"Yes ma'am."

As if that's not absurd enough, she told me that even though everything was noted and all the money was there, if I didn't repay October I would be sent from in house collections to actual collections and it would reflect on my credit score. Paying too promptly was about to give me a black mark on my credit score. Not only that but they wanted the payment I had already made too early to be replaced IMMEDIATELY. 

After almost 20 minutes of arguing with her that their entering Octobers payment in Septembers billing cycle wasn't my mistake, and that they're having extended September into October randomly without mentioning it was likewise not my mistake, and being told that I had no choice whatsoever and to avoid being sent to collections I'd have to overpay them, I  accepted defeat and told her I'd pay on my due date. She said no. She offered to give me unti lthe 24th to pay up or get sent to collections. Repay October, even though she can see that they already have it, and they just have it in under the wrong date, and pay November, and pay the late fee. The late fee for paying too early. I accepted defeat again  and asaid fine, I'd send a check by the 24th. 

Shouldn't that be good enough? No. She wanted to know on exactly what date I'd be sending the check. I don't flippin know, I have to readjust my whole budget now to accomidate this asinine situation, but that it would be before the 24th. Then, because now it seems early is bad, I said...."If I send it early am I going to be charged another late fee?" She said no, the only way I would be charged a late fee would be if it was after the 24th....if it was late. So I clarified: "So....because I sent Octobers payment too early I was charged a late fee and am being required to pay October A SECOND TIME, because I was early, but if I send in the repayment early I wont' be charged a late fee, I'll only be charged a late fee if I'm late."
"Yes ma'am."
"So, it was wrong to pay early in October, but it wouldn't be wrong to pay early in November?"

She told me she wasn't going to spend anymore time on the phone with me as it wasnt' getting anyone anywhere.
So I asked her one final question. I said "If this were to go to court, and I were to say to the judge, with you there to back me up, that I was being sent to collections for paying EARLY, and was being required to pay $50 extra, again due to paying EARLY, and had been charged a late fee once again for paying EARLY, do you really think he wouldnt laugh you guys out of court?"
She said 'No ma'am. Because you paid early you didn't make your payment."


Now....technically I do understand what they're saying. They...THEY...messed up the billing cycle by extending September without letting me know, by CHANGING MY BILLING CYCLE WITHOUT INFORMING ME, so my payment arrived too early to be applied to Octobers billing.  But..that was not my mistake. And since the payment was clearly marked and described as being $25 on September and $25 on October, wouldn't you think somebody there would take responsibility, note the account, note the payment, and take me off the collections list? Wouldn't you think they could waiv the late fee for a month they could clearly see had already been paid? Wouldn't you think they'd just be reasonable people and say "Sorry, we should have let you know you'd need to wait a little longer before you sent out your October payment, because we'd readjusted your billing cycle." ? And really...since when does paying early earn a punishment?

Here I was, taking responsibility for my own situation, and making sure they got their payment expediently because part of it was already late , communicating this to them clearly, and making sure my account was up to date, and what do I get for it? Bullshit.

I asked her why, since she obviously could see the situation, and because she'd said several times "I"m really sorry but you were one day early with that. If it had come in on the 7th it would be fine, but it came in on the 6th"  she couldnt just get a supervisor and just put this all right? They had my money, they admitted they had my money, and yet they were unwilling to fix the situation without my paying them money I didn't owe them.

Who knew you could get a late fee, and be sent to collections, for being too prompt?

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