“Late payment charges” on credit cards: you don’t have to pay, and I’m the living proof

I wrote previously about how you don’t have to pay the “late payment” fee that credit card companies charge. At the time, while plausible, it was only the word of a barrister (and on reflection, 50 per cent of them are wrong when they come up before the beak). Though note that one commenter succeeded there too.

However, today I tried it, and it’s true: credit card companies know that they can’t make these charges stick.

I got my two credit card bills, where I had one card with a large (recent) sum added on a very small sum (around £60) plus another card with about £50 outstanding. On both there was also a “late payment charge” of £20. Part of the reason I was late in paying was that the Barclaycard site wasn’t working, again. But that wasn’t the justification I was going to use for refusing to pay the late payment.

So I phoned the Barclaycard people. “Hello,” I said. (Calm, polite, in control.) “I’d like to pay my balance, but I’m not going to pay your penalty charges.”

OK, said the man. Let’s go through some security questions… “now, you say that you don’t want to pay the late payment charges. These are applied for being late with a payment.”

So I see, I said, but they’re not enforceable. You, Barclaycard, haven’t incurred the costs you’re levying here; my missing this payment by a day or two does not add up to twenty pounds of costs for you. It’s not enforceable – it’s an unfair contract term.

He said that they had to levy these charges, that they were averaged for everyone, and there was a whole department for dealing with late payments. Well, I haven’t heard from them, I said. You haven’t had to write me a solicitor’s letter. You haven’t had to get bailiffs in. Charge the costs to the people to whom you have to do those things. There’s no reason to levy these costs on me. (I stopped short of saying “It won’t stand up in court” because that might seem like tempting fate.)

We both stayed polite and calm (which is a key thing in dialogues like these: if you get angry, they win and will make your life hell). But, he said, your bank charges you for an overdraft, and they’ll send you a letter and charge you for it. (This was where he was really beginning to stretch it; for a bank, dealing with an overdraft and *writing a letter* counts as exceptional, whereas the credit card companies simply whack a charge on your next bill.) Well, I’ll speak to my bank if it tries that, I replied. But it’ll be between me and the bank.

It was just getting tothe point where I thought we were going to have to go around the buoy again, with me saying “unfair contract terms… not justified by your costs…”, when he abruptly seemed to decide he had better things to do, because he said “I see you’ve been a customer for some time now.. so we’ll forgive [it might have been some other word, like ‘waive’, but I don’t recall exactly] the late payment charges.” A small troop cheered in my heart. And so I paid up the fair balance of my cards, including the ridiculous interest (and there’s another story..).

So, learn from me: you too can do it. Ring them up (don’t bother with letters; too slow, not interactive enough). Be insistent; it’s about the contract being unfair (read the original article at The Guardian), not anything else.

Why under scams? Because these payments are a form of scam. Avoid them.

96 Comments

  1. I never pay bills until the last minute. Thanks for this article. I have just had conversation with BT re
    a late payment charge on my recent bill (all be it a RED one). BT have agreed to refund this payment
    (why i don’t know, because i’m not going to pay it)but said it was a ‘Once in a lifetime offer’
    To which i replied, i will not be paying it EVER. Thank you very much.

  2. having read your article on late payment charges i was inspired to contact BT and challenge the charge on my recent bill …I too was given “once in lifetime offer”
    thanks ,i wouldn’t have questioned it in the usual way…

  3. Thank you for this information. Same happening to me, so will fight as you have

    David

  4. All i did was call up my back and say ” Hi there, I am calling to have a late payment fee refunded off my card please.” They asked me why and I said” because I dont want to pay”. And that was it. done.
    NO expaination needed!!!

    Try it!

  5. Hi Charles, I have just phoned Sainsburyz Bank re a £25 ‘late payment’ fee for being TWO days late. Had the fee laved instantly. Decided not to argue the point as it was a Scotsman the other end. Case closed. Thanks again.

  6. Hi there, I always pay my bill at the last minute. Paid by cash at Barclays the previous month on the due date and got charged a late payment fee.
    Phoned them and they removed it.
    Forgot again this month to pay it early and so paid it by cash at a Barclays branch on the due by date. Received a late payment charge again.
    Phoned them and was told that as I’d done it once already they couldn’t waive it again.

  7. Charles

    Monday 10 October 2005 at 1:07 pm

    That’s the wrong approach – to say “Hey, I wasn’t late”. That’s not why you’re not paying. You’re refusing to pay because the charge is disproportionate to any costs incurred by them; so that makes that part of the contract unenforceable. The original article is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardian_jobs_and_money/story/0,,1287282,00.html. It’s well worth reading. And remember, if you plead that you weren’t late, then you’re already accepting their version of the contract. That’s your error. Don’t repeat it!

  8. I am very impressed – I had no idea you could challenge companies in the way you have described. Thank you for passing on that information.
    Do you have any advice when a store card company lowers your credit limit inside the requisite 30 day notice period, especially when this means that you card is declined with out good reason in store? Regards Ruth

  9. I’ve been with the Abbey National for sixteen years – and last month I breached my overdraft limit. For two days, I went over by a succession of small transcations. I suddenly noticed I’m being charged £175. I’ve contacted the call centre and all I get is the mantra that it is a valid charge. But legal advice says it isn’t – and I’m going to take the bank to the small claims court (cost £30) on the grounds that the charge is not a real reflection of the costs the bank has incurred by me breaching the overdraft limit. The Banking Ombudsman seems useless: although the banking code says charges have to be fair, and my argument is that these charges are not only unfair they’re not legal, the ombudsman believes fair boils down to if the bank has warned you of the charges in its small print. The banking ombudsman hasn’t heart of unfair terms. It’s about time he looked at a legal text book.

  10. Interesting to read David Lewis’ note. I too have had an Abbey account for over 20 years and recently went over my overdraft for a period of 2-3 days (first time ever!) and was charged £180 for 5 small transactions!! I phoned the call centre and explained that it was an oversight on my part and has never happened before and all they said was that they could only refund £30 and no more – nightmare! I was going to write to the Abbey and complain but as I don’t think it will get me anywhere I too will take them to the small claims court.

  11. With regard to those who come up against the “one refund a year” policy.

    In short, don’t buy it. I’m with Natwest, and I’ve had the last three late payment fees, and the interest refunded. It started when I received a late payment fee a few months ago (the statement had never arrived, by the tme I realised it was overdue). I wrote to customer service requesting that interest and the late payment fee be refunded, pointing out that it was unenforcable. They replied, that it wasn’t their view that it was unenforcable, and that any future fees would have to be paid. Unfortunately I’m a little bloody minded and deliberately paid the next two late and each time rang up to get both the interest and the fee refunded.

    They did try and claim they only do it once a year. As soon as the customer service assistant said this I asked to speak tho their immediate manager, if their immediate manager said this, I would go up another level (and you have a right to request it’s dealt with by someone more superior). At some point, the manager I was speaking decided I wasn’t going to go away, and refunded both the interest and the fee. Stick to your guns, get more expensive management involved, and the charge will go away.

  12. I’d appreciate an answer to this query… How can it be legal to print a “Payment Due” date that is anything other than the last day you can walk into a bank and pay the charges?.
    If it takes three days for a cash payment to clear the Company is aware of this (we must still be living in the middle ages, in modern banking systems cash payments clear right away) . Surely the moral (if not the legal) thing to do would be to print a date that takes this into acount. That way if I pay my bill on the due date it’ll not be ‘late’.
    Isn’t this deception? Is this supported by legislation? Can the British banking system be brought into the 21st Century?
    Being used to a different banking system (I’ve lived in Italy, Colombia and the USA) I was used to paying on the due date without incurring a penalty. So we know the penalty is worng, but surely it is also wrong to print a lie. If you tell someone they should pay ‘by’ a certain date, then that must include paying ‘on’ that date!.

  13. The other side of the statement (normally) and the terms & conditions (always) state how many days prior to the due date you have to make the payment to guarantee it arrives on time. It’s not “printing a lie” – it’s when the money has to be credited to your personal credit card account, not when it has to arrive in their hands. It’s part of the deal you signed up to.

  14. Beware that they dont leave a marker on your credit file, ie. a late payment (1), which means that you paid the amount late – this ONLY applies if you have a MORE GENUINE reason (ie. their payment website down, bank error, bank account moved and messed up by new bank etc.) for paying late, not simply being late in paying :o)

  15. My daughters bank (barclays) are begaving like absolute crooks. We complained, they offered £200, but then followed up with another confetti of penalties totalling £100+. How can they can be so cruel? I’m sure that if you dissected a Bank executive you would find nothing but balance sheets. We may have to take them to the small claims court, as our original letter threatened; they won’t do anything about the penalties that had occured since her first letter 3-4 week previous.
    How can add our opinions to the Office of Fair Trading, to strengthen its arm.These people need bringing down a peg.
    They have their own “law” it would seem, that goes against any kind of reasonableness

  16. i work for a bank and i have to say you guys really are pathetic

  17. Charles

    Tuesday 18 April 2006 at 10:56 pm

    So, jon, care to share why you think we’re “pathetic” for not letting the company that employs you take money from us that it’s not entitled to? You’d not like it if shopkeepers kept your change because you’d stood in the doorway too long. What’s so different about banks?

  18. I work for one of the big four. It is standard practice to give most customers ONE charge back. Next time you get a charge you’ll find that the answer will be no, no matter how much you complain.

  19. Charles

    Wednesday 19 April 2006 at 1:36 pm

    Ah, Ciaran, I’m talking about credit card “late payment” charges. And I’ve had them reversed a number of times, as I’ve blogged on this site. So you’re clearly wrong. Perhaps you work for the wrong one of the “big four”.

    And more to the point, if the charge is wrong once, then it’s wrong every time – as the OFT has recently ruled.

    The OFT said that “late payment charges generally were set ‘at a significantly higher level than is legally fair'”

    Which pretty much sums it up.

    You’re on the wrong part of a slippery slope, there, Ciaran.

  20. I have just written to two credit companies that I paid late (online), asking for a breakdown of their costs in charging “late payment fees”. They naturally won’t give a straight or true answer, but it will give them something to think about.

    I do believe that this parasite culture of charging fees while providing nothing in return needs stamping on by the consumer. For me, the most annoying one is BT, which provides about a week between the arrival of the bill and the last opportunity to pay before the fiver is levied. This last example has an answer, however. NTL.

  21. Far better to write. Telephone calls can be denied. Send a recorded delivery letter. I did this over a dubious late payment charge & it wes cancelled. I received a reply saying that their charges were “valid, fair and enforceable” to which I replied (in rather more polite terms) codswallop. Have yet to hear back

  22. The best one yet is i booked a trip ,and paid via Halifax visa this in Sept 05 having had to cancell the trip in May06 the Travel Company paid the card back (CR)i took this as a payment to my card,not so got a late payment fee of £25 and told that the payment was a credit.Now did i know that or have i ever been late with a payment in 10 yrs..NO,I asked if the holiday company had paid me by cheque,and then i sent you a cheque, would that have been classed as a payment…answer..Yes . to that i replied you have charged me interest on that transaction wef SEPT,I then paid my account off in full,and wrote them a letter with one credit card in 4xbits attached.

  23. I’ve just been charged a late fee of £25 on my credit card for paying too early! I made two payments in one month, 1 payment on the 12th before the 22nd due date and one on the 26th just after the previous bill date which i naturally thought would cover the next bill. I recieved my next bill and they had charged me £25, so i phoned them and was told i had paid too early, ‘I shouldn’t have paid till after the computer had sent me my bill’. After a few words the agreed to credit half of the charges. So beware everyone they have a early/not,late fee too.

  24. A familiar story – a late payment fee of £20 on my Mastercard. I cited the recent recommendations that the amount was unjustified but the Advisor I spoke to refused a refund, saying the change in policy had only been in force for week (which would make it 27 June) and my late payment was incurred a few days before that. Stunned at this, and not being sure of my ground, I rang off. Finding this blog gave me nore confidence to try again

    So I rang back and insisted. This time the advisor (a different one) explained that the fee was automatically incurred on late payments but they would waive half the sum in this instance. I pointed out that ‘automatic’ implies no human labour at all, but is probably computer triggered – so for what precisely were they charging?

    This produced the comment ‘We can refund in full this time, but can only do it once a year’. To which I replied ‘I will accept your refund but not your terms, and should it occur again I am prepared to argue on a case-by-case basis.’

    Leon

  25. Have banks just got it all wrong?

    With my credit card statement from the four-letter-acronym bank, I received a notice of a change to my terms and conditions.

    The change they have made was to change the order in which they apply payments on my credit card account. Under the new Terms and Conditions, balance transfer payments and charges made on promotional rates (which are usually 0% or quite cheap) are paid off first, and they have moved cash advances (which are always the highest interest rate and have no interest free days) to the bottom of the list.

    I was reading this while in the background the Nationwide commercial with the funny fat bank manager was going on about credit card charges.

    I don’t have balance transfers and no-one in their right mind uses credit cards as a cash advance but I just think its ridiculous with all this talk of national debt that someone has actually authorised this change!

    Guess I will be giving my bank one of my own four letter words :)

  26. Hi – I have taken the Halifax to the small claims court over bank charges and won. I am not a lawyer and the procedure is straightforward. See http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk for free help and advice. Jez.

  27. These charges are illegal when they are ‘penalty charges’. A penalty charge is a notional cost decided by the bank (or utility company) which does not represent an actual cost to that company of your ‘breach of contract’ For example if you forget to pay a credit card statement one month then receive the next month’s statement with interest on the unpaid balance at the advertised interest rate PLUS a £30 late payment fee, the interest is legal, the £30 charge is not and can be recovered, however many times they impose it. The only actual extra cost to the bank in this example is one line of ink printed on a statement they would have sent you anyway, ie nothing (for all practical purposes).
    All penalty charges are illegal in contract law in England & Scotland, regardless of what you agreed to when you signed the credit agreement. The Banks argument that they have to maintain a large department to deal with global losses caused by slow and non-payers and that these costs have to be recovered somehow, is not valid, because the contract is between an individual and the bank, therefore the only costs they can recover from that individual are those costs inflicted on the bank by that customer.
    The banks know that they are breaking the law and this is why they will never contest these actions to recover penalty charges in court. Stick to your guns, they will always back down, if necessary take them to the small claims court, they have never, repeat NEVER, gone to court to fight this.
    Re the BT late payment fees, I have recovered one of these so far and am in correspondence with their chief executive Ian Livingstone as to their legality, it would seem to me that a similar situation applies, they are an attempt to recover global losses caused by bad/non payers from those individuals that do pay, even if somewhat late. BT seem to be hoping that the modest charge (£5 + VAT, ie £5.87) will be too small for people to bother with but I think all these charges should be opposed if they are illegal…and if they don’t represent a real cost to the company of your individual breach of contract then they are illegal. What is particularly galling in BT’s case is that they charge the line rental in advance, so one is not really late paying this portion of the bill anyway!! (in my case the line rental represents 3/5ths of my bill)

    If you feel equally strongly about this, please write to Ian Livingstone at:
    Office of the Chairman & Chief Executive
    Warrington Contact Centre
    110 Europa Boulevard
    Westbrook
    Warrington
    Cheshire WA5 7FZ

    For more detailed advice on how to recover Bank charges visit:
    http://www.bankchargeshell.co.uk/
    or in Scotland:
    http://www.bankcharges.info/ (Govan Law Centre, Glasgow)

  28. I am looking to claim back a number of late payment charges and believe there is a web site setting out how one can go about it.

    could someone recommend any sites or advice

  29. Charles

    Monday 30 October 2006 at 6:22 pm

    Martin, I think that would be the sites recommended above.
    This thread really deserves to be a “most-commented”; it’s certainly a most important, since it’s a way people can actually make money from this site. Or at least, lose less money than would otherwise be the case.

    When I get one of these charges, I phone up and simply explain that I’m not going to pay it because they cannot enforce this; it’s illegal. Be polite but firm. (Being polite works for you – it keeps you focussed on the argument – and them, because they can’t be rude while you’re being polite.) Be firm: they will squirm and squirm, insisting that it can’t be done. If they keep insisting, ask to speak to a supervisor.

    The last time I did this, and asked for a supervisor, the person came back and said they could make an offer which was that if I paid off some of my outstanding amount right there, they would discharge the penalty fee. Since I’d intended to pay off some of the debt anyway, that suited me fine.

  30. I have managed to reclaim £4300 in bank charges with the help of http://www.consumercorner.co.uk
    Another member has just managed to get over £17,000 from Abbey in small claims thanks to Shaun. Its a great website without them i would not have known where to start.
    Isnt it about time the banks stopped wasting peoples time though and the courts and just pay up. The OFT are just a waste of time on this subject and leaving it to customers to do the dirty work when they could stop it straight away.
    well done to http://www.consumercorner.co.uk
    and the other forums that are helping people.

  31. As a consequence of overstepping my credit limit by £15 for two days, I was dunned for £12 by the issuer. In the OFT position statement of last April (oft842) I found:

    “… we do not propose at present to consider legal action where charges are set below £12.”

    I also found “The level of a fair fee will, however, be dependant on the precise business circumstances”, which I quoted when I complained, pointing out that the only cost they had incurred was is debiting my account.
    On meeting a stone wall (“I’m not allowed to …” &c), I concluded that the only way to make progress would be to take (or at least threaten) legal action. For the sake of £12, I demurred and withdrew gracelssly.

  32. Charles

    Friday 10 November 2006 at 1:33 pm

    James, they’re not really a stone wall. You just have to be patient, and keep pointing out that the charges are illegal, under contract law, because they are disproportionate. If the person says that they’re “not allowed to”, then ask to speak to a supervisor, for there always is one.

    I made these points in an email I wrote to someone who’s always paid, but who then got dinged when they missed their payment by a day: don’t get angry. Just say that it’s wrong, and be patient. Repeat the mantra. Do not give up. Emphasise that it’s the system, not them, which is in the wrong (because nobody likes to be on the side of the system).

    Asking for a supervisor does work. So does patience. You’ll save a lot more than £12 for yourself.

    The OFT, as I thought people might have figured out, is completely weak in these matters; time and again it shies away from pointing out who’s really abusing consumers. It doesn’t have consumers’ interests at heart; it only exists to see that the method of trading is fair. If it were about consumers it would be called something like, oh, the National Consumer Council.

  33. I have just had my late payment charge from BT removed. Phoned up said the payment was illegal and that BT would not want it tested in the courts so could they please remove it, at the same time saying the operative should check with their supervisor. She did so and the charge was removed immediately.

    Power to the people!

    clayton

  34. All this is sweet music to my ears and i cant wait to start proceedings against my bank and several thieving companies that have imposed these illegal fines on me for slightly late payments in the past 6 years. I always felt really angry about these extortionate fines and had a gut feeling that somehow they must be illegal. I even reasoned to myself that if they could do that to me, what stops me doing the same back to them? – so I sent my student loan company a letter of complaint about a hefty fine they had sent me due to a slightly late payment, for which I charged them 20 pounds (still 10 pounds cheaper than their letter!) Of course they didnt pay and in fact completely ignored my letter. Its payback time now! – thanks for this site.

  35. I have just got off the phone with Lloyds TSB regarding a late payment charge of £12 on my Credit Card. They first told me that the OFT had said it was OK to charge this amount and when I insisted that the charge was unenforceable I was transferred to their “collections” call centre where I was given the same speech about the OFT. I persisted and the guy immediately offered a £6 refund but said he could not authorise the removal of the charge. I was told that I now must write to the “Concerns dept”. Anyone had any experience of dealling with this department?

    I am going to go through my old statements to find any other charges and ask for them to be refunded as well.

  36. first of all the late payment fees that are charged to an account are perfectly valid and are a term of the contract, written down in the contract which people are urged to read BEFORE they sign but which everybody doesn’t bother reading.
    There is therefore offer and acceptance. Next, there is consideration as the company offers you credit and in return the customer promises to pay at least the minimum payment each month. So i dont see that there is anything to complain about. it is the cst that has breached the terms of the contract and technically the company could sue for full repayment so they are actually helping the customer by not doing so.

    The lesson here? don’t sign if you don’t like the terms!

  37. Charles

    Tuesday 16 January 2007 at 1:19 pm

    GW, you might think you’re right, but in contract law you’re wrong. And it’s in contract law that the law (obviously) applies, not the court of the kitchen table.

    The law says that such charges have to be for the amount of loss suffered by the company. They’re not, or shouldn’t be, punitive charges – you haven’t signed up to a contract where you’re providing a service to the credit card company.

    Clearly the OFT doesn’t agree with you; it told the banks and credit card companies to reduce their charges. But the true price of adding a charge to your account has surely been amortised over the years since it was introduced. It’s part of the computer functions they provide, and certainly minimal compared to calculating interest per day, per balance, and by comparing when something was added to your bill.

    In other words, penalty charges are a con, a swindle, and people like yourself who think “Oh, they must know, they’re banks/credit card companies and *much* bigger than little me” are talking yourself into a sel-imposed fealty and poverty. The law applies to all, and it applies to these companies too.

  38. I have an American Express Credit card which I pay off in full each month. This month the amount was due on 7 Feb. On that day I realised that I had forgotten to pay it so I telephoned and paid the full amount by debit card. I was told that the late payment fee of £12 wou;ld be added at the end of the day and that there was nothing they could do. I asked for them to stop this but I was told that it is computer generated and cannot be done. I was told that it could not be refunded and as this had happened once before and they had taken it off the following month as a gesture of good will they could not do this again as they only allowed 1 goodwill gesture in 12 months.
    I argued that the amount was due on 7 Feb and I had made the effort to call on this day and pay by debit card so in my eyes was that I had paid it in time. They said that even though I had done this they would not received the money for another 3 days so they regarded it as a late payment – nence the £12 late payment fee.
    Can they do this.
    Yes this is in their terms and conditions but why dont they put on their statement – payment is due on 7 Feb and therefore must be paid by 4 Feb. BarclayCard does this.
    What can I do

  39. Charles

    Friday 9 February 2007 at 1:54 pm

    DG – you ask “what can I do?” You can do what I advise in the post at the top: ring them up and explain that “penalty charges” like that are not enforceable. They’ve even weakened their own case by refunding it once in the past. So it was not a penalty then, but it is now? Sorry, but no.

    You have to be firm; you have to be calm; you have to be determined; you have to be sure of your ground. They have not incurred that £12 cost – again, they’ve condemned themselves out of their own mouths. If it’s done by a computer, it sure as hell did not cost £12 to do. Charges must be proportionate. It has not affected the liquidity of American Express (as if.)

    Do not be cowed by these people. Ask for the supervisor. Remain on the phone. Be calm. It is your money, and they should give it back. You have the law on your side and you will take them to the Small Claims Court if they don’t. (Links in the comments, I think.) Go to it.

  40. I would like to know if late payment charges are applicable to small companies I have received an invoice for payment for ground rent on a pitch on a caravan park, if the payment is late they levy a £50.00 charge, plus if you pay by credit card there will be an additional fee is this legal? The invoce received today must be paid by March 1st 07

  41. Irene – I don’t know, but the pitch company could make the point that unpaid rents mean it has to chase them up, and not being a bank that’s going to cost at least an hour or two of someone’s time, which is £50 of anyone’s money if it’s a business, especially a small one.

    So, I’d say – they can charge.

    Extra charge by credit card – yes, that’s legal; they can charge extra for almost any payment method apart from cash or bankers.

    Simplest solution: pay the rent before March!

  42. Can you believe that the POST OFFICE have charged me £125 for cancelling the direct debit to my credit card? AND a late payment fee of £12! This is because I chose to transfer my balance to MBNA who didn’t do this and failed to tell me when I opened my new account. Now each side is blaming the other. Should I have to pay it? It seems a ridiculous amount considering they have just added it onto the bill.

  43. Some of the banks are changing their terms and conditions in order to try and put customers off claiming. I’m not sure how the courts will view this.
    Companies like http://www.iwantmychargesback.co.uk can help on a low no win no fee basis, and fight for the highest level of refund.

  44. Charles

    Monday 12 March 2007 at 11:36 pm

    @Jane: that’s remarkable, and daft on the Post Office’s part. I’d think you could reclaim that – they can’t realistically have incurred that amount. It’s a disproportionate fee.

    @Mark – I’d be wary of paying someone who’s not a qualified solicitor at least on this. No win, no fee, but what about comeback? You’re (Mark) opening yourself up to being sued yourself if the sums get large and you haven’t got a solid contract with the client.

    Better to let people do this themselves – which I think they’re doing. The banks can twist and turn but people will be watching them very carefully. Any variation in contract will be put under the microscope. And that doesn’t affect the retrospective ones.

  45. I have the same problem with Natwest this month.
    They charge me £12 due to I paid the creditcard fee at 2nd Mar. BUT the last payment date is 5th Mar.
    I spoke to creditcard service and I got the answer ” We need 4 working days to transfer your cash ”
    It is ridiculous !! I have account in other country and I pay it at the last minutes, it is allowded!!

    I think all the dear friends above can take a look at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6170209.stm
    You just post the two things below to your bank or contact company
    1.photocopy your statement
    2.print the letter from BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/12_12_06_bank_14day.pdf
    I am doing this claim to Natwest, hope I will receive a good reply from bank (Otherwise I wil do it every single week!)

    Good luck to everyone!

  46. Every customer who wants to know how to claim back bank charges can come to us and we will be working closely with them to help them claim as much of a refund of their bank charges as possible. We have an agreement with the person that we are only acting under their instructions and sign off each stage of the claim we do on their behalf. We are just removing the burdon of the procedure and not claiming a ridiculous 20-30% commission to do so. If an individual wishes to make the claim themselves then that is great – we are only interested in helping those that don’t for whatever reason.

  47. Just spoken to Natwest now after reading all the info on this post. They refused to levy the £12 late fee aven after speaking to a manager. So I just closed my Platinum Mastercard account with them, and closed my wife’s account at the same time. Well the’s other cards in the sea….

  48. I work with RBS/Natwest in one of their call centres & get at least a handful of people demanding LPF/OVLimit refunds daily.

    The thing is, while most of you are right in saying these charges are unenforceable (and I do agree with you that even though they’ve been lowered from £20 to £12, this is still too high for a payment being a day or two late), you did sign a contract with your provider before taking out your credit card.

    Most of you are quite happy to sign up to paying £12 when you’re late, but when it comes to it, you aren’t prepared to pay it and demand a refund. Please don’t flame me here, for the most part I’m on your side, but from the banks point of view, they do have your signature agreeing to pay such a fee, even if it is unenforceable.

    In most such calls I ask why the payment is late, how it was made etc, and we usually get onto the topic of timescales. So many times I hear responses such as “who actually reads the small print/terms & conditions?”. What I’m saying is that everything is all written out in that contract you signed up to. If you didn’t like the idea of a £12 fee when you’re late (that’s if you read the contract), why did you sign up for it?

    I’m sure it is coming to this in the other big banks, but with RBS/Natwest, a no-refunds policy was introduced a few months ago which means that however high you up go, you’ll hear the same thing: you’re not getting a refund unless it was a bank error that caused the fee. People do close their accounts because of this, and I’m against a total no-refund policy myself, but it seems the bank is finally getting ready to stand up for itself in court to get these fees paid.

    To end on a lighter note, RBS also provides call centre staff for Tesco Personal Finance customers, and Tesco still has a “gesture of good will” one-off refund policy at the moment. So if any of you are TPF customers, you’ll get your first (at the very least) Overlimit/Late fees, if you ask :)

  49. Charles

    Saturday 14 April 2007 at 9:32 pm

    @49 – Tom, good of you to drop by.

    you did sign a contract with your provider before taking out your credit card.

    But as has been explained here – and is currently the subject of a court case – the charge is unenforceable altogether, because it’s disproportionate. An unenforceable contract, by definition, can’t be enforced.

    Here’s the  court case in which a former law student, now a lawyer, is claiming damages for the penalty charges that his bank ran up for him going over his overdraft. The bank has refunded, but he’s after *damages*. Ouch. Damages.
    Why did we sign up for it? Because there was no other game in town. Everyone had these fees – and we went along with them, even though quite possibly the lawyers inside the organisation knew that they might not stick in court.

    If RBS/Natwest has a no-refunds policy, it’s going to find that a court case setting a precedent will either precipitate a lot of court cases showing that that policy is illegal, or it’ll find people leaving anyway.

  50. Thanks, Charles.

    Do you have any more info about the court case you linked me to? Looked interesting to see what the judge said seen as it was supposed to have been heard yesterday?

    You’ve pretty much done a good job of dissecting my argument so I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that approach.

  51. Charles

    Saturday 14 April 2007 at 11:08 pm

    The court case has been adjourned to the 30th

    Mr Brennan is demanding the right to claim exemplary damages – punitive charges levied when the defendant’s wrong is deliberate, malicious or negligent – on top of the cumulative cost of the fees. He says that while the bank charged him £38 for every refused direct debit or standing order, he has evidence that the cost of dealing with these was no more than £2.50.

    Links to the guy’s website. Strictly, his case doesn’t apply to credit card fees but to bank charges – but they’re the same principle.

  52. Hello, Charles,

    This may be slightly off subject, but it does start with the ‘late payment charge’. The offender in question is BT. I’m in the position of having both a business and a private line at home. The bills have just arrived. I have an intermittent income (I’m a freelance writer) so I’ve cut my ‘package’ down to the bone saving £6 + this quarter… and they’ve hit me with a £10.00 ‘late payment fee’. From comments above, I gather this is unenforceable, particularly as one pays in advance, so would have to be very late indeed to be ‘late’ paying, therefore they can whistle for that one.

    The private bill, on the other hand, contains a charge of £4.50 for ‘payment processing’, which smells like a try-on too. I detest bullying, and this is what these practices amount to. They’re big. They’re still, effectively, a monopoly (at least out in the sticks, where I live). They can, so they do. But what will be the social effect of this dubious policy? There must be many people on far lower incomes than I who simply do not have the means to pay by direct debit. Because forcing us to pay by DD is what this is really all about.

    Can it really be legal to charge for ‘processing’ payment by a long-established means simply because it has become inconvenient to the recipient?

  53. Charles

    Saturday 16 June 2007 at 9:42 pm

    @OWS, this is an ongoing discussion in the Guardian’s Money section; there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer about the non-direct debit thing. (And you do have a choice; there are other suppliers. Talk Talk for instance. Haha!)

    I agree that direct debit is evil – why should I let a big corporation have its hands in my bank account? And I doubt that BT lets any of its suppliers have the same terms, which I think is the point that I would ask them if I were in BBC Moneybox’s shoes, say. Banks charge BT et al different amounts for payment by different avenues, but I’d be surprised if it were £4.50.

    The late payment charge is unlikely to be enforceable. I’d make the point to them that they could quickly lose a valued customer if they don’t drop it.

  54. Thanks Charles,

    I would have transfered this to the link you kindly gave above, but – pushed for time – couldn’t immediately find an appropriate thread.

    A further thought: My wife and I are both just over retiring age. She has particular problems remembering security numbers, besides which we’re a pair of curmudgeons. :) So when chip and PIN came in (knowing that this was for the banks security, not ours) we pressured Barclaycard to maintain a ‘signature’ card. They refused, until we brought up the subject of disability (quiet politely). All of a sudden they could make a special dispenastion, which they duly did.

    My point is: Cheque payment is still the preferred method of the older generation, so the BT £4.50 surcharge could be construed as ‘age discrimination’ ;) Your views, kind sir?

    BTW, any openings for young (at heart) freelancers at the Guardian?

  55. Charles

    Tuesday 19 June 2007 at 12:42 pm

    @55 – I don’t think that you can really dress the £4.50 as age discrimination: if you pay anything by non-cheque, then clearly you can do so.

    No, the charge is just customer discrimination. It’s their way of saying “Go away unless you want to let us take any amount of money from your account without warning.” Obviously, that’s a delightful thing to hear from any multinational.

    As for freelancing – well, the door is always open. See what I wrote here and here for guidance on what and how to write it.

  56. Hi Charles, can you please advise? I make the minimum payment to Egg by direct debit, and yet for the past few months, they have called me to tell me to make an additional payment because I’m over my credit limit. I havent used the card since February so it’s clearly the charges that are pushing me over. In February, I cancelled my direct debit (it was due one day before pay-day) and spent the next three months trying to reinstate it. Egg didnt collect, despite my repeated written messages to them through their website and their acknowledgements. For three months running. everytime I checked my account to see if the direct debit had been made, and found that it hadnt, I called Egg immmediately and made the payment by debit card.
    It has been reinstated now, for the past two months, the payment went out two days ago, and Egg are already calling for the extra payment. At the moment, I am not taking their calls but they are very persistent. They insist that I have a direct debit (which is fine) but why do I have to make an additional payment as well when I am not using the card? Please help!

  57. Charles

    Friday 22 June 2007 at 1:35 pm

    @sam – it sounds like Egg have been crap. Though this is the sort of thing that Tony Levene is much better at sorting out for people at the Guardian Money site – see http://money.guardian.co.uk/experts/ – really you need to get in touch with the legal or consumer experts.

    I’d get your statements together, see where it was that their charge created the problem, call them and say that unless they pay back that charge and associated charges (caused by the original charge) you’ll leave, and see what happens. I suspect they’ll pay it back.

    And *then*, you leave. They sound pants.

  58. Hi Charles
    My wife and I are finally in the position to make the final few payments to clear our credit card. One thing that annoys me is that a large chunk of our remaining balance is acrued from late charges. We have paid ‘late’ every month, ‘late’ meaning paying the day before the balance due date transferring money from our current account to the credit card. Our credit card issuer is the same company we bank with.
    We never thought we would have a leg to stand on regarding these charges as it clearly states on our statement the time different payment methods, btu we are restricted due to when we get paid.

    So I am about to make the happiest phone call of my life and make a payment but would like clarification from you.
    I subtracted from our balance the late payment fees and I going to call to make the final payment and close the card account.
    Could you clarify these points?
    I am refusing to pay the late payment fees as they are ” an unenforceable and unfair contract term”, and I am not to get embroiled in an argument on whether we believe we were late or not.
    Is this correct?

  59. Charles

    Sunday 1 July 2007 at 9:53 pm

    @Martin @54: I think you’ll have to get them to refund the charges first before you can close the account. You don’t say how much it is – if it’s been many months then it might add up to quite a bit, mightn’t it?

    But yes, you should ask for an administrator (do that fairly early). DO NOT say that you want to close the account – the threat of closing it is one you want to hold in reserve to persuade them to make the repayment. Then, once they’ve done that, and your balance is zero, you close it.

    But yes, the general point is that this is an unenforceable contract term: they have not suffered the loss that they have charged you. They didn’t have to create a special letter – they just added it on, using computer programs which they’d paid for years and years ago. They didn’t take any special action, incur any particular costs in this “late” payment. (Of course, you have to accept the interest on the outstanding amount – though not, if you were being strict, on the penalty charges. Though you could be generous and say you’ll let them off that.)

    Be calm, but be determined, and don’t be fobbed off by their repeating – as they will – that you signed a contract. What if the contract said they could come and burn down your house? Would that be OK? No. This is the same. Be persistent and in the end you’ll get there. But do not tell them that you plan to close the account. If they refuse and refuse to make the repayment, then tell them to look at how long you’ve been with them, and how much you’ve spent, and tell them that their inflexibility on this means you’re now seriously considering closing your account. Then wait. Then repeat – that it’s because they’re being inflexible on this, you’re *considering* closing it. You’re sorry. But if they can’t refund these unlawful charges…

    Let us know how it goes.

  60. Hi

    we have Nat West Visa cards and bank with Nat West. This month we see we have a £12 late payment fee charged. We have minimum monthly payments set up by direct debit, usually send a cheque along at the end of each month to repay some of the balance.

    This month we did not do this as we had a lot going on. On phoning Nat West, we are informed that Visa stopped the direct debit back in March. How could they do this and then impose a charge?

  61. @Dave & Susanne: Urr, don’t know how they could do that without informing you, but it anyway boils down to the same thing: “late payment” charges are not legal. Ring them up and argue the point as explained above. That’s all. See comment 60 for more.

  62. I have been charged £38.00 by Natwest Bank for making a payment to my loan account 2 days late, is there anyway I can claim this charge back?

  63. Charles

    Tuesday 27 November 2007 at 3:54 pm

    @Sara – that depends on the terms of the loan contract. You’d have to look at it very carefully; it depends how much the loan is for. If it were a £500,000 loan, you could imagine that the lost interest from a couple of days might meet that. Then again, if the loan’s just £500, it becomes harder to justify.

    One would guess that it’s roughly in line with credit cards – except you’ve got slightly less leverage, because it’s a loan, which will have a specific contract. Go back to the first principles of contract law that I linked to (in this post) and see if it works for you.

  64. Try all of the above . Keep calm and stay polite . But also point out that late payment charges are a cynical ploy by the credit card companies, banks etc to circumnavigate the usury laws in this country .Here `s the maths :

    If you owed £ 1000 and were paying 1% interest per month you would owe £10 .
    However a late payment of £ 12 and you pay £22 . Now work that back and suddenly your intrest rate is 2.2% per month.

  65. i have been chanrged late payment fee by Natwest even my payment was paid but couldn’t get through into my account on the required date. i have spoke to them and they have refused me to refund even if i close my account for this reason they are not bothered for 4-5 years old customer never been late. what should i do now?

  66. Charles

    Thursday 10 January 2008 at 6:07 pm

    @zeeshan – leave them (assuming it’s the credit card company. Ditto if it’s the bank. Though you could try again, along the lines that penalty payments are unlawful. (You took the wrong tack in saying it should have arrived. The point to make is that it’s not legal. And if you tried to pay, that’s better.)

    Offer them a deal: you won’t leave, if they’ll wipe the penalty charge and let you make a payment now.
    Depends, of course, whether you can afford to pay the debt – though there are plenty of credit card companies wanting your business, so the balance transfer shouldn’t be too hard.

    The only way to make them realise you’re serious is to carry out your offer to leave. No point in idle threats.

  67. Charles; actualy i have made my payment though internet banking which was only £23 in full and this payment reached into my account late over the weekend unfortunately as my payment due date was 3rd jan and they have recieved my payment on 7th. for the sake of £23 they have charged me £12 and that is the total balance onto my account right now. how funny!
    i have asked them i want to close my account considering this is unfair from you and any unlawful anyway and he said pay this £12 and i will close your account for you now… i have not paid these £12 yet though.
    Charles, if these late payment fee are not legal then what really i can do with this law if can not make the use of of it. the point is not £12 for me but the law, i want them to waive this £12. please advise.

  68. Charles

    Friday 11 January 2008 at 12:08 am

    @zeeshan – you have to remain polite and calm, pick a time when you can stay on the phone for as long as it takes (which could be a while), and ask for a supervisor. Point out that the penalty fee they want to extract from you is not legal. They cannot enforce it. You have tried to pay them the correct amount. They have imposed an illegal fee. You want the fee removed. The fact that the contract says they can put the charge on is immaterial. If the contract said they could burn down your house, that wouldn’t make it legal to burn down your house; it would still be arson. This is not a legal charge. Please revoke it. I’ve been a good customer to you – you have made money from me through interest – but now you are trying to impose an illegal fee, so my choices are clear: you revoke the fee or I will leave.

    Be calm, be insistent, don’t be fobbed off. If they get angry, you’re winning. If you get angry, you’re losing. Repeat the same line again and again. If they don’t flex, ask for their manager, politely of course. Always be polite. If you’re polite, they cannot, in the end, win, because you will cost them more in the time on the phone than they’re getting from you. Honest: they’ll have spent £12 on the call fairly soon (in staff costs they could have used on other things). Enjoy it. But persist. That’s all.

  69. thanks for your reply but this shows me that nothing i can do to them by law even if they are unlawful so what kind of law this is? where are my rights? i could end up spending another £12 making 0870 calls.

  70. Hi Charles. I was only late 4 days on my Barclays Mastercard due to the holidays and I payed my account in full (always do). I tried speaking to a manager to get them to remove the late fee and they refused. I then faxed a letter to the office of the President (they told me to do that). They too refused. I just came across your website today and tried your approach on the phone with a cust svc rep. They again refused to waive the late fee for me. I didn’t get angry and used the specific reasons you mentioned but they still refused. I ended up closing my account. I told them I would pay my balance in full minus the late fee. Such a shame…

  71. @Beth: kudos to you for following through. Their loss.

  72. I’ve just received a letter from BT saying that I am required to enter into a agreement with BT Payment Services Limited (BTPS) who will collect and process my payment and that I will agree to pay a fee for that service.
    This sounds to me as though BT’s lawyers have tried to find a way that they can legally impose payment charges for those of us who prefer not to pay by Direct Debit. The information provided says that I can cancel the contract with BTPS, but by doing so I will be in breach of my agreement with BT for telephony services, and that BT will have the right to terminate that service. BT’s Telephony T&Cs have been changed from 01 February 2008 accordingly.

    This is just plain corporate bullying. It is outrageous. I have refused to pay the payment charge since it was introduced last year, so have also incurred late payment charges, which I have also refused to pay. It is described as £1.50 per month, but as the bill is sent quarterly it is in fact £4.50 per payment. I did ask BT to account for how they arrived at this figure, but all I got was a standard letter saying that others did it, so therefore it was OK for them too.

    I have been a BT customer for 40 years, I have never paid for my phone by direct debit because in my experience when DDs go wrong they take ages to sort out, and all the onus is on the poor customer to prove that it’s the company’s or the bank’s mistake. I make nearly all my calls through 18185.com which is so much cheaper than BT at 5p per call any time for geographical calls. So my BT bill is 95% line rental, which I have to pay in advance anyway.

    Surely they can’t get away with this latest attempt at extortion.

    KG

  73. @Keith: I’ve written about BT more recently but what you’re describing is interesting. Your contract, after all, is with BT Communications (or similar; you’d have to dig it out).

    This sounds like they’re trying to vary the contract. Which raises the question of whether BT Comms is no longer competent to collect money. Has it sent any communication like that? I’m not a lawyer – important disclaimer – but I don’t quite follow how *you* can be in breach of your existing contract if *they’re* the ones trying to vary it.

    The problem is that there’s no way within the call centre system to make this point. It needs an executive-level interview (with legal advice) or a court case. Well, the court case should be ongoing…

  74. It’s been fascinating reading all of your comments with regard to late payment charges,but I just wish to comment on such charges applied to credit card accounts.There is a way of avoiding them before the Banks(computers)whack on the £12-pay by Direct Debit(like I do),even if it is just for the minimum sum due-you can make any additional payments on top at any time-have been doing this for ages.I’ve also been careful in not going over the credit limit(£12 a time there too!),and lo and behold-no charges!.
    I know that direct debit is NOT compulsory,or enforceable in law,and have read that some correspondents listed here have encountered problems when paying by this method-however,it surely must be true that the vast majority of payments made by direct debit on credit cards go through without a hitch.Naturally,it is correct to challenge such charges when things do go wrong when it is clearly not the customers fault.
    All of you challenging the extortionate charges that are documented here have my full,100% support.It is unfortunate that the OFT only went as far as they did in just limiting any late payment or overlimit charge to £12,instead of either ruling the charges should not be made at all,or if they are,they can only be proportionate(and we know the amounts the Banks are charging are clearly NOT proportionate!!!!).
    I also find BT’s practice of charging customers who choose not to pay by direct debit absolutely scandalous-the trouble with all this is that such large organisations(Banks,BT) always have,and will continue to,take advantage and ride roughshod over the customer in their never ending quest for money and more money,and it seems to me there is only one way to stop them-Change the Law( but somehow,I cant see it happening).
    All power to your respective elbows!!!

  75. Hi – more about MBNA I’m afraid!

    I am on a 6 month interest free transfer arrangement with MBNA. On the very first payment, which went into MBNA’s account 3 days before the due date, I paid by BACs but made a minor error in one of the digits on my account number. It went into MBNA’s account but not allocated to my account.

    When I received my next bill from them (I was unaware of the problem since my bank showed the payment as having been paid into their account), I had been charged £12 late fee, plus complete removal of the interest free period, creating interest in excess of £220 per month.

    They had, some seven days after receiving it, sent the payment (apparently) back to my account, although it was not showing on my account.

    On remonstrating, they waived the £12 late fee and the future interest charges, but insisted on charging a whopping £225.38 interest on the payment which they said was late. The payment due was £186.10 and I actually paid £200 which was in their account, as I said, three days before the due date although I accept that they did not know it was me who had put it there. They subsequently found the payment in their account, but said it had been sent back to my bank. In the interim, I had resent the payment to them, even though it wasn’t showing as having come back to my account.

    I have had the usual hassle with the contact centre and managers not returning my calls as agreed. This morning, I had a rather rude gentleman who said that as far as he was concerned the matter was settled. I disagreed. He has given me the Customer Services address, which I shall write to.

    However, basically this boils down to their charging me £225.30 for a minimum payment due of £186.10 for which I actually paid £200 which was in their account on the due date.

    Does anyone else have a similar experience? How on earth can they justify charging £225.30?

    Janette

  76. Thanks I just tried your suggestion. I said the website was down and they waived the charged no questions asked!

  77. Thanks for your advice! I pretty much followed all your tips and it worked!

    I’ve just phoned up Barclaycard and said that I didn’t understand why I had to pay the late penalty charge as Barclaycard hadn’t had to do anything to earn it, and that although it was probably in the Ts&Cs it wasn’t enforceable. The guy didn’t want to know, said that I had to pay it, and was quite patronising. I said that I was quite happy to pay the interest, but the penalty charge was unfair.

    Under pressure the guy said that Barclaycard charged the penalty to “make a profit”, which I thought was interesting! I’m not usually good in these situations, but managed to stay calm and polite, and asked to speak with a supervisor as we weren’t getting anywhere.

    After being put on hold for 5 minutes, and then a further 3 minutes, I eventually got through to a supervisor who said that as I had been with Barclaycard a long time, and normally paid on time and in full he would cancel the charge. He was also very helpful regarding direct debits, online payment etc. which I said I would think about.

    All in all a result! (although I’ll have to confirm this when the next statement comes through…

  78. I’ve just received a letter from a debt collection agency for a Barclaycard I know I have cleared off, I’m not sure yet if it’s the nonpayment fee due to a useless payment protection being put on it or if someone started using my account after I had it closed :(

  79. hi, can banks charge late payment fee every month since i have not paid the late payment free (i have all merchant transaction though). they have been charging late payment fee for over a year since i did not pay the late payment fee … :(

  80. Question – I pay my dads outstanding credit card bills on my debit card and he gives me the cash. He has about 5k worth of debt that has been reduced from 8k. I only pay for him online because he is unorganized and is not up to scratch on the internet.

    For the last three years I have been swapping around his credit cards to get the best deal. He used to be with Egg and MBNA who use to charge him a fortune for late payment fees. These accounts are now closed.

    Is there anyway I can reclaim these late payment fee charges if the account has been closed? Any help most appreciated……

  81. they think they get away with stealing our hard eared cash they make me sick like the unfair bank chargers thir will be wesites set up for these firms stealing our money and we will be able tu claim it back its always the poor that suffer its disgusting they shoudent be all0wed tu get away with stealing our money

  82. Yes i can’t understand how in a supposedly civilised country we can allow this kind of behaviour.
    My buildings insurance management company has recently sent me a bill for £138.13 for “historic arrears for late payments” – that is,
    payments that were supposedly late last year… Absolutely the first i’ve heard of it. Makes me sick to think of all the gentle
    nice people who will just cough up the money thinking they have no choice.

    In a modern and just society, the heads of companies that try to pull this disgusting fraud on ordinary citizens should face lengthy
    jail terms, huge fines and public humiliation.

  83. I have been charged £12 late fee by Virgin and another £4.50 interest for a supposed late payment. My payment was due on the 5th Dec, I made an online payment on the 3rd which cleared the full amount on my card. This left my account on the 4th. Virgin say they never received it until the 7th.
    Have rang up and remonstrated saying that I will close the account. Asked to speak to a supervisor and have been promised a call-back. Feel this is totally unjust as always clear my account in full each month. Am prepared to put this to the small claim court. Should I clear the balance in full first or balance minus the £12 late payment and interest??

    Thanks loads

  84. I’ve got the same problem.
    I’ve got a credit card from Debenham. Which I haven’t used for more than 7 months.
    I’ve taken a vacation last year. And before that, I made payment for every penny I owe to different companies. I made the payment to Debenham in store before the 10th of July and they claimed that they never received the money before 17th, which is two days after the due date. So now, I’ve just received a letter, charging me a fee of £87.70.
    I called them, being reasonable, telling them it is not my fault that their store failed to be efficient in payment transfer.
    They said that it is my responsibility to make payment before 5 working days, instead of only 5 days, in advance of the due date…And they won’t do anything about it and will get debt collection company to deal with me if I refused to pay and blablabla…

  85. My last two Debenhams credit card statements have not had a ‘minimum payment due date’ printed on them. The old ones did, and there’s still a box on the statement where the date should appear.

    How are you mean’t to know when payments are due and penalties start accruing if they don’t tell you the payment due date?

    Tried calling their customer ‘help’ line (should instead be called a ‘customer taxline’) to get it sorted but never get through to anyone. Have written to Debenhams but they ignored by letter, so I’ve made a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. The fact I’ve had to do all of this this makes the card and it’s associated ‘customer service’ rubbish.

    My advice – avoid Debenhams and their credit cards like the plague.

  86. There is one thing is this discussion that seems to be overlooked
    and that is the time it takes to process a payment. let’s say the due date is the 18th sep 2010(saturday). If you now submit your payment online on the 17th to your card provider(amex in my case) then your payment won;t probably be processed until the 20th Sep and the credit card company is going to charge to late payment fee and interest. But the only thing that should matter here is when you physically make the payment as you have NO control over the date it is being received and processed by the card company. So why should people being held responsible for something that is beyond their control? If you send a payment the payment system will send a record to the receiving party stating when the payment was submitted. This date should be relevant and there should be compared to the due date and not the processing date.

  87. I was charged by BT £38.50 in late payment charges and reconnection fees for the last quarter. After reading this forum I rang up and was very polite.. I simply said “I want the late charges of £38.50 removed please.” He went and did it without question, not statement about a one off good will gesture either. Be polite, clear, and determined! Thanks for the info!

  88. 5 months ago I paid a final payment of 670 pounds of my Virgin credit card…..Thinking I had paid it all off I thought no more about it. I looked yesterday to find that after I had paid the card off I was charged interest of 11 pounds 6 days later. I was then charged late payment fees on 4 separate occasions on the 11 pounds interest.

    I realize this was a hindsight on my part but to be charged 12 pounds on four occasions for late payments to bring the total up to 60 I find very harsh. I had no idea this 11 pounds interest was on my card, how does the new sum owed reflect in anyway the costs incurred by the credit card company for the 11 pounds I owed them ?

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  89. I pay my Barclaycard payment on time every month, except for one occasion when I mistakenly forgot to post it. I was charged the late payment charge of £12 that time and paid up without demur. However, on my last statement from Barclaycard I was told to post my payment on 9 Feb as it was due on 15 Feb (these are the usual dates each month); I did so, posting it along with another letter to a relative on 9 Feb, yet when I checked my account online I saw they were claiming the payment was late and they’ve charged me £12. According to their records, my payment was only actioned on 16 Feb, the day after it was due; I realise a payment has to clear but I had followed their express instructions as I always do, and in any case how can it take 7 days between posting the payment and it appearing on my statement?

    I’ve emailed Barclaycard, telling them I don’t understand this, especially as I know for a fact that the letter I sent my relative, posted at the same time as my payment, arrived the following day, therefore the postal service appears to have been operating normally. In future, am I going to have to ignore Barclaycard’s own instructions about when to post my payment and send it more than a week in advance of its due date? I haven’t heard back from them yet, but it’ll be iteresting to see if they’ll refund the £12.

  90. Thanks for this – just had my £12 refunded on my RBS credit card following your line of discussion!!

  91. Hi to all, the best thing is when paying pay by visa card over phone and get a reference number for that payment. regarding late fee’s I was once charged £15 overdrawn fee for 2p (two pence) with Loyyds-TSB and I still have statement to prove it. What percentage does that work out in profit?

  92. I got charged £12 as I did not make the payment on my store card last month as I usually pay once I receive my statement and didn’t get one last month, and as there was other stuff going on (like hospital visits and sorting other financial issues) I didn’t pay anything. On this month’s statement they’ve put on a late payment fee. There was £0.49 interest on a balance of £37.46, meaning that the added late fee brings the current balance to £49.46 and my minimum payment is now £13.50! That’s a big leap from £0.49!!

    I phoned the company before reading this blog. They suggested I get in touch with the post office – how helpful! I mentioned my financial circs etc but didn’t mention it being an unfair charge. I did, however, tell them that I would like the fee waived as I did not usually pay late and that I was a loyal customer. They said that I had already had a fee waived before. When I asked them about it, they said it was last April, proving my point that this does not happen regularly.

    Now that I’ve read this blog, am I right in believing that I don’t have to pay the late fee due to it being unfair/disproportionate? This is a very big company, by the way, and all the statements are computerised.

    When I didn’t get any luck with the first person I asked for someone senior and they put me through to a manager in another department. She did not want to waive the fee either. When I asked for the complaints department, she told me that her department was the one that dealth with complaints! She offered to put me through to the department that helps people with difficulty paying. (I didn’t accept as it’s not just about the difficulty, it’s the principle.) I asked if there was another departmnent who could deal with this and she said she would refer it on to Customer Care. I also asked for the address of Customer Care so that I could write to them if I choose to. They said that someone would contact me from Customer Care though.

  93. Some two years ago (long before I had reads this article) I incurred a “late payment” charge of £12 on my storecard from Debenhams. I contacted the company to protest that it was one day late and I had never paid late before. I was told that the charge was the rigid policy of their bankers Santander and that there was nothing that they would or could do even as a gesture of goodwill. My response was to pay the charge and advise the store that I would return the card for cancellation and would not shop at Debenhams in future. Also I would encourage my friends and relations to do likewise. The loss of my business will have cost them far more than £12 and will continue to do so into the future, but I wish that I had known about this two years ago.

  94. Seeing if this works

  95. I have an Internet savings account with Santander Bank. I changed to a better paying interest account last month on line, I phoned the bank to ensure I did not pay income tax as a non payer, that will be no problem I was told. My statement for July appeared and I had been Taxed.!!I rang but was told sorry but you will have to claim it back from hmrc, why should I have to wait for almost 18 months to get my money back I asked. The person asked a supervisor who said its your problem, I said ok within a few mins I will be removing my money to another Bank Account, there was a pause then came we will offer you a ex gracia payment of the amount you were taxed, I of course said that will be fine and that was done.Im now happy…The next day checking my account they had given me back the Tax credit again so im more than happy it pays to complain..

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