Due date bumped to help local senior make payments

For 78-year-old Marian Lawrence, balancing a budget gets harder each year. While prices are going up, her income is staying down.

"Just buying groceries is a lot more than it was before, and gas these things add up," says Marian.

Marian relies on social security and a small part-time job making picture frames. However, she's getting less work these days, and bills are stacking up.

"Car payment every month, insurance, gasoline," says Marian. "I save my social security income for all my bills and my rent."

Except there's a problem. Her HSBC credit card payment is due on the 14th of each month. But Marian often doesn't receive her social security check until the 15nth, and that means not enough in her account to cover the bill. So Marian asked HSBC to bump her payment due date by just one day.

"And they said it was absolutely not possible," says Marian. "He suggested I either borrow the money or budget my money better, which I thought was very rude."

"There's a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck right now and when those due dates make a big difference in their cash flow that's when it's good to request the due date be changed," says Dan Parrish from Consumer Credit Counseling of San Francisco.

Parrish says juggling due dates is one way lots of folks are getting by in these tough economic times, and often creditors are flexible. But Marian says HSBC would not budge, and she was facing potential late fees every month. That's when she called 7 On Your Side.

Marian hoped 7 On Your Side could help and we did. 7 On Your Side contacted HSBC, and the bank looked into Marian's case. Within days HSBC agreed to move her payment due date ahead to the 17 of each month, well after she receives her benefit check.

"That's fantastic! That would just be fantastic," says Marian.

HSBC said it could not discuss Marian's case because of privacy rules and it did not explain its due-date policy. However, Marian is resting a lot easier.

"That'll just make my world. Thanks very much for all your help, I appreciate it," says Marian.

Often it takes multiple phone calls to a creditor to arrange a payment date you can manage, so don't give up after one try.

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