An "Injustice" Worth Fighting About?

February 18, 2003

"My mortgage note states that a late charge will be assessed if a payment is received after the 16th of the month. I made a payment in person at a local branch at 4:30 pm on the 16th. Subsequently, I was notified by mail that I was being assessed a late charge because the payment was not posted until the following day -- the 17th How can they charge me a late fee when I made the payment in accordance with their own cutoff date? What recourse do I have if they continue this practice?"

The grace period is a free ride for you – you pay no interest on the balance during the period between the first day of the month, and the day when the money is "received" by the lender. Hence, the lender should be able to define what receipt of the payment means, and yours defines it as of the time they post the payment. That is not unreasonable. Hey, they could have defined it as of the time your check clears, which could be two days later. They might also have given you 10 days grace, as many lenders do, instead of 16.

I suggest that henceforth you make all payments on the 15th, and find a better cause on which to expend your energies.

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