So Many Fees I Couldn't Get Ahead On The Balance

R wanted to get started paying off her Capital One credit card but after missing one month’s payment she started a fee pigpile. She got overlimit fees, and then so many extra fees started piling on that she wasn’t ever able to pay them off enough to bring her balance back under her credit limit. R wanted to get started on debt reduction snowball method but could never get that first ball started because the fees were too high. Tugs at the regular customer service line to try to get some fees waived were fruitless. To untangle this Gordian Knot R had to pull out her mighty sword of executive customer service. Her story, inside…

Hi Ben!

I had missed a payment last fall in October, due to a tough month personally, which had caused my small Capitol One card ($300) to go overlimit due to finance charges. Since then, the fees have been mounting and my small monthly payments ($30-$40) were barely covering the fees. As you can imagine, my balance continued to balloon out of control over the next three months.

In order to get myself out of this month, I started doing my research, including becoming an avid Consumerist reader, and decided that in order to start making snowball payments (using the awesome snowball debt reduction spreadsheet!) on all credit card debt, I had to get these fees under control. I tried calling customer service several times, to no avail, other than to offer waiving the check by phone fee – nice but not the issue. I finally emailed Capitol One’s CEO directly (rich.fairbank@capitolone.com) and received a call the next day (within 12 hours of my email!) from an executive customer service representative.

Unlike other customer service reps, she was very friendly and eager to help and was very understanding of how this situation had happened. She was able to credit back all fees on my account since October (almost $300), which puts me back under my credit limit! She also lowered my interest rate (down from 18% back to 7.56%) to help make sure my monthly payments go further!

I was absolutely blown away with how easy it was to resolve this issue once I sent the email. The best part was talking to someone who didn’t make me feel like a criminal for getting behind and someone who was genuinely interested in helping. Capitol One’s exemplary dedication has made them the one credit card that I will keep – frozen in the freezer, of course!

Sidenote – I used the letter that Louisa (name?) had written to the BOA CEO as my template. Clearly there’s something about that style that works!

Thanks for writing a LIFE-CHANGING blog and for all the great work you do!

Congrats! Way to rock your debt!

(Photo: Menage a Moi)