If you're a former Washington Mutual cardholder -- now holding a Chase card -- you may want to check your due date. During the transition from Washington Mutual to Chase, which took place in early March, due dates on some credit-card accounts were moved up by as much as a week. The due-date change has resulted in a host of late payments for customers. Depending on balances, those late payments have resulted in late fees ranging from $29 to $39.
Chase is aware of the shift in due dates (and it knows that it occurred during the transition). Chase is not unsympathetic. Customers who are affected -- and who don't have a history of late payments -- are encouraged to call Chase and ask for a "courtesy adjustment." (Use that exact terminology: courtesy adjustment.) I'm told that in most cases, it should not be difficult to get a fee reversal. If you get a customer-service representative who seems reticent to help you out (read: you get a robot who won't deviate from the script), hang up and call back. You'll eventually find a representative who is willing to help you remedy the situation.
(UPDATE: it's quite possible that a change in the grace period may be the reason for the shifting due dates. WaMu cardholders had a 25-day grace period. The new Chase cards that replaced those old WaMu cards have a grace period of "at least" 20 days, according to a letter that was sent to WaMu cardholders back in February.)
I've heard from several readers who were affected by the date change. Most were caught off guard because they had become accustomed to WaMu's consistent due dates. Indeed, over the years, the due date on my Washington Mutual credit card never changed by more than a day or two. It's easy to get complacent when the due date is that consistent. Therefore, I can see exactly how customers got snared by Chase's date change.
Anyhow, that's my public-service announcement for the day. If the recent due-date change caught you by surprise -- and you ended up being late because of it (and you're not a serial offender when it comes to being late) -- give Chase a call. Meanwhile, if you do find that Chase is unwilling to work with you, after several attempts, please let me know. I want to monitor this situation closely.