I borrowed $357.15 from this company, in November 2011, for some dental work, and a veterinary bill for new cat I adopted from the shelter. I intended to pay off the entire balance within my 6-month interest-free promotional period.
I received my first bill in December, 2011. The minimum payment due was $25. I sent them $100, using my banks Bill Pay service. The payment was credited without problem.
In January 2012, I received another statement, showing the $100 payment in December. Again, the minimum payment was $25. I again sent $100, using my bank's Bill Pay service.
According to my bank's records, the money was received by GE Capital Retail Bank on January 5th. On January 12th, they "cancelled" the payment and the money was put back in my account. I didn't notice this as I had verified that the payment had been sent several days before.
On January 29th, I received another bill. This one showed NO payment received in January, so they added a "late fee" of $25. This made the minimum amount due $50.
I called "Customer Service" to ask about the missing payment, and to suggest that I didn't owe any "late fee" as I had paid well before the due date, and THEY were the ones that cancelled the payment. I told them that, of course, I would send the $100 back again, plus a minimum payment of $25 for the month of February, but would not pay the "late fee" since I hadn't been late.
"Trisha", the GE customer service rep, told me that she would put in for a "waiver" of the late fee, and that would be my "one waiver for this 12 month period." I asked her why I should need any "waiver" since it was their error, not mine.
After much debate, "Trisha" stated that I should call my bank and find out why the payment had been cancelled. I explained to "Trisha" that the folks that worked at my bank weren't mind-readers. GE had cancelled the payment, so why would my bank know why?
"Trisha" kept insisting, and kept talking right over me to the point where I finally just hung up on her, being unable to get a word in edgewise.
I called my bank. They were amused to hear that GE felt they would know why GE cancelled the payment. But Shelley at my bank did do a bit of digging and told me that the cancelled payment showed "Status: Closed. Invalid Individual ID."
I don't know what an "Individual ID" is, but I do know that the account number was the same for both the December payment )which was credited without a problem) as well as the January payment (which was cancelled). And the account number showing on the Bill Pay system was the same account number as on my statement.
Finally, Shelley figured out that, since the December 2011 payment was my first payment to this company, it had gone through as a regular paper check. Since it processed without a problem, the second (and subsequent) payments are done as electronic transfers.
Somehow, GE was able to match up the account number on a paper check, but not on an electronic transfer.
So I then called my bank's Bill Pay company and spoke to a very nice woman named Sharon. She wrote up a report about the whole situation and has forwarded it to the appropriate department in her company (giving me a Reference Number for the report), requesting that further payments to GE be made by paper check. She told me that it would take "a week to 10 days" for the report to be acted upon, and that the department she was submitting the report to would be in contact with me at that time.
So now where does that leave me? The due date on the current bill is February 17th, 2012. If I send another payment via my banks Bill Pay system, will it process or will they cancel this one, too? Supposedly the minimum payment this month is $25, PLUS that $25 "late payment fee." They will credit (if they don't cancel the payment again) the first $25 I send them to the "late payment fee." Which, as far as I'm concerned, I don't owe.
In short, I would have nothing to do with this company at all. I intend to pay the original $357.15 (well before the 6-month, no interest, promotional period is up) I borrowed and that is all, regardless of how many "late fees" they want to add on. And then I'll probably end up spending the next couple of years getting my credit reports straightened out to show that no, I was NEVER late on a payment, and no, there is NO outstanding balance due to "late fees" being added on.
Run like h**l away from these people. It would be far more worth it to pay your banks current interest rates on a loan if you need one.