Dear Dr. Don,
How do I report a credit card company that regularly sends me my bills after my due date and then charges me late fees? Please help — their late fees are more than my monthly payment. I have closed the account but will never be able to pay it off like this!
— Deanna Dilemma
I’ve heard of credit card providers that try to make it difficult for cardholders to pay their bills on time so the card provider can make money on the late payment fees. Two such tactics include changing the mailing address for payments and shortening the number of days between when the bill arrives and when the bill is due.
But I’ve never heard of card providers sending the bill so cardholders receive it after the due date. I hope you kept the postmarked envelope(s) to help make your case.
But first, be a little proactive with the account. Check the balances online, and make the payments using online banking before you get a bill. The account may be closed to new charges, but the account isn’t closed until you pay off the balance. Saving $40 in late fees is worth being proactive.
Also, be sure to complain. Most card providers are national banks. The place where your complaint gets the most bang for the buck is with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or OCC. The OCC has one of the best consumer complaints and assistance pages in government.
The Federal Reserve and the Federal Trade Commission are two other potential places to lodge a complaint, but start with the OCC.