Woman charged for late payment

January 9, 2009 6:48:10 PM PST
How would you like to pay more than $900 for paying a bill one day late? That's what happened to a Walnut Creek woman.

Have you ever signed up for one of those "buy now, no interest for one year" deals? They can be fabulous, but you have to keep track of the details.

Nancy DeHaesus bought mattresses at Sleep Train. She loves the mattress, loves the store, but she has an issue with the financing.

When Nancy bought the mattresses, an account was set up with CitiFinancial, which carried the balance for a year free of charge, providing Nancy paid on time. Nancy insists she did.

"I did it religiously every month, on time. I never wait, I look at the due date and it said November 20th. The bill was paid the day I received the bill," said Nancy DeHaesus from Walnut Creek.

It was November 2nd when she received the bill, and the company backs that up receive date November 5th, posted November 6th. Still, Nancy was charged $920 dollars in interest for not paying on time.

So, what happened?

The bill had a box with the due date. It said November 20, 2008, but it had a box next to it saying that the next expiring promo date was November 4, 2008.

So the bill was due on the 20th, but the final payment for the interest-free deal was due on the 4th. CitiFinancial did not hide that. But Nancy didn't read down that far down.

"That's when I sat back in my chair and I said Channel 7. They have to help me here, because I am going to go crazy," said DeHaesus.

We couldn't have that, so we contacted CitiFinancial and the company waived the charge and Nancy's balance is now zero.

"And that's the end of my story. I jumped out of my chair. Indeed very happy to have that happen, it was such a strain on me," said DeHaesus.

Nancy was dealing with some intense family and medical issues and CitiFinancial took that into account for us, we appreciate that, and so does Nancy.

The lesson here is always pay off these kinds of deals a month early -- two is better, and read your bills all the way through.