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The Simple Trick to Stop Paying Excess Fees

August 27th, 2015

Late fees and unexpected extras are one of life’s pains in the neck. But there’s a simple way to get out of them.

I’ve been a bit vague with the prompt paying of bills lately. I blame it on the fact that I’ve been overseas, and the minute I land on foreign turf I seem to lose any sense of what day it is.

So, after missing a few due dates and paying the penalty in overdue fees, I’ve had to do a little bit of hustling to try and repair the damage.

It’s inspired me to put together this list of six occasions when a little bit of pluckiness can pay. Because if you don’t ask, you most definitely do not receive.


1. When you miss the on-time discount

My winter electricity bill was already high enough, thanks to a stream of Airbnb guests and Melbourne’s super-chilly winter. But when I missed the due date by one day I was very surprised to find my bill had skyrocketed from just under $330 to a whopping $405. Ouch!

On returning home, and realising what had happened, I gave Alinta a call to explain the situation, who kindly credited the difference towards my next bill. Win #1!


2. When you signed up to a good deal, but then forgot to quit it

Last year I signed up to a premium credit card, with an annual fee of $250. Seems an odd move for me in hindsight, but it did come with heaps of Frequent Flyer points and free travel insurance. Given I travel a lot, it seemed a worthwhile deal.

Of course I vowed to quit it after a year, and then only remembered when another $250 disappeared from my account.

I figured it was game over until I rang the bank and told them I was shutting the account due to the high fees. Within five minutes, the money had been returned to my account. I’ll probably still cancel the account, but at least I got my money back. Woop!


3. When you leave your stuff in storage and forget about it

After moving into a one-bedroom apartment I’ve whacked a bit of excess stuff in storage while I figure out what to do with it (probably a complete waste of money, but there we are).

Last month I received an overdue fine for not paying on time. In my defence, I couldn’t find the original bill anywhere and doubt that I ever received it.

Either way a quick call to the storage place saw the overdue fee waived and financial equilibrium restored. Score!


4. When you’d rather not pay that much for a new (or second-hand) car

There’s some negotiating I enjoy (usually the kind with big companies over the phone) and some I enjoy less – such as trying to lower the price when buying a large item like a car.

However if it’s too embarrassing for you, why not take along a friend or family member who doesn’t have the same qualms?

Don’t like haggling with used car salesman? Take someone with you who does.

For example my Dad, a former mechanic, accompanied me to buy my last car. Not sure if it was selective deafness or not, but he managed to ignore/not hear the salesman and get the price down $200. It was still embarrassing, but nice work Dad!


5. When you want a pay rise, but there’s no chance in hell

Getting a wage increase can be like pulling teeth. Unless of course you get headhunted elsewhere or just happen to be offered a much higher paying role.

It’s a shame really because you love your job, you explain to the boss. But, you do have to think of the financial side too. Hopefully when push comes to shove, the ultimatum will result in a little bit of bingo bango for your bank account.


6. When the real estate agent is just a little bit too optimistic about his/her fees

One of my friends has a sneaky solution for avoiding paying unreasonable commissions to agents when putting your house up for sale.

He makes the appointments back-to-back, so the various agents inevitably pass each other in the hallway and realise there’s a little bit of competition in the air.

Sure, chucking a few of the agents’ glossy brochures on your kitchen table won’t hurt either!


Larissa Ham writes for The New Daily. Click here to visit the New Daily website.


This content was provided by the New Daily. The views expressed are not necessarily those of First Super.