Today I updated my monthly budget and net worth. I do it every month to prepare for the Race to $1 Million. Which, by the way, will be postponed this month. The Hoff is off wasting his time with some stupid vacation. He might have mentioned something about an engagement, but I wasn’t really listening.

Anyway, one of the accounts I look at every month is my Best Buy Credit Card. I bought my TV and computer on the card and have 0% financing for 36 months. Sure, I could pay off the entire balance, but borrowing money at 0% gives me the opportunity to use my money elsewhere and get a better return. A 0% loan is good debt and I’m taking advantage of it.

When I logged into that account, I noticed that I was being charged a $25 late fee for not sending in the payment. I have this payment automated from my checking account, and I had already seen the $52.77 taken out of my account earlier in the month. It was time for some investigation.

Time for a Customer Service Call

I called HSBC, the company that manages this card, and asked them to recheck and see if they received the payment because my checking was showing a $52.77 debit earlier in the month. The guy tells me that he didn’t receive anything, but he trusts there was an error on my bank’s part and credited the late fee. It was so pleasant knowing that some companies will do right by their customers without making them ask for something.

personal finance actionI made the payment through the HSBC system and then called my bank, Regions. They told me that the check was sent, and apparently returned to sender because the address was bad.

I had been using that address for months and never had any issues. Now all of a sudden it was undeliverable.

I checked back in my HSBC statements and it turns out they changed the mailing address of where payments should be sent. It would have been nice to get a communication about the change of address, but my late fee had already been waived, so I didn’t need to call back.

Then the Regions customer service rep told me that he would cancel the original bill pay and credit my account the $52.77. He also said that it usually takes 24-48 hours for that to repost to my account, but he would make sure it was there by midnight tonight. He was very helpful.

This entire interaction was both very frustrating and very pleasant at the same time. It was frustrating HSBC would change the payment address without telling me, and frustrating that Regions didn’t inform me that a bill payment check was returned to sender. However, both customer service reps were very pleasant and made things right without my having to ask.

So what’s the point Kevin?

First, I want to commend HSBC and Regions for having great customer service today. It’s a far cry from what I experienced yesterday. And second, I made this point last week.

Always check your bank statements at least once a month. If I hadn’t checked, who knows how long it would have taken until someone emailed or called me about missing the payments. I could have lost my 0% financing on the Best Buy Card and the rate would have jumped to 25%.

I’m sure you all got the point last week, but I just wanted to share my personal story of where I avoided late fees and potential interest rate hikes because I was diligent enough to check my accounts every month.

Don’t forget to enter my $225 Giveaway before Aug 14th, 2011!

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