You already know that you’re supposed to save money when you make purchases and you’re supposed to vehemently oppose any fees that financial institutions try to put on your account. If they want to charge you for talking to a customer service representative, you speak with a manager and get the fee waived. If they want to charge you a late fee when you have proof that the payment was sent on time, you point out the error and you get the fee reversed.
What happens when you are the one who made the mistake? Should you still aggressively pursue a refund and stop at no costs to save money, or should you accept your mistake and chalk it up to a lesson learned? A $30 late fee can really hurt – that’s a whole outfit at some secondhand stores, after all – but even if you’re totally at fault you might still be able to talk someone into refunding the fee. You may have to be pushy and even a little whiny, but when it comes to saving some money you may be tempted to do whatever you need to do to keep money in your wallet.
How to Avoid Bank Fees
Here is the bottom line: You should definitely fight against any fees that are placed on your account that aren’t legitimate. For example, if you order a copy of a credit card statement and it never gets sent to you then you certainly shouldn’t pay the $1 per printed page fee. You should also fight against any fees that are downright silly. Suppose your bank sends you a new debit card and the card has to be activated by using it in an ATM, but then you’re charged a $3 fee for using a foreign ATM to activate your card. That’s silly.
You may also be able to successfully get fees reversed when you’re the one at fault as long as it’s an unusual occurrence. If you’re late sending in your loan payment once in five years then calling up the lender apologetically will probably lead to the fee getting reversed. On the other hand, if you fall into a pattern of sending in your payment late and then calling up the lender to get the fee reversed you’ll soon find that no matter how apologetic you are the fee won’t get reversed anymore.
The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t accept ridiculous fees, but you also shouldn’t expect financial institutions to waive every fee just because you call and ask. You want to save money and probably hate paying fees, but you also need to take some responsibility.