I dumped my AAA Financial Services credit card, finally, after calling to confirm I’d been assessed a $29 fee for being late on a $44 bill.
The customer service representative agreed it was the $44 September T pass bill on which I’d been late. Then he explained the late fee structure: about $15 for less than $100 and $29 for more.
Hunh? What $100, then? He’d just agreed the total bill was $44.
Well, see, on the October statement on which the late fee appears, there was another $44 bill for the next month’s T pass, $20.50 at Loew’s Boston Common movie theater and $15.65 for Brother’s Pizza & Grill in Belmont, a total of $80.15 ...
... which means the only way the late fee is justified at the higher rate is by including the fee itself, for a total of $109.15.
The logic was so tortured that I couldn’t, at first, deal with that last violent twist. I began to grapple with it only after canceling the card and hanging up with the customer service rep.
Hours later, I’m still mystified why a company would play such an absurd game with late fees — and be so quick to agree to ending an until-recently functional relationship — with someone getting an average of two credit card solicitations per day from every company under the sun and probably a few on it. AAA Financial Services itself had been asking me to move up to its platinum card.
Perhaps I should have. Maybe the advantage of being a platinum-card holder is that the late-fee rules make sense. On the other hand, following their logic, perhaps platinum-card late fees are assessed before a check is late. Or before the card is used. Or before the card arrives in the mail.