Credit card bills end up in the spam filter

Published 8:42 am Monday, August 18, 2008

E-mail is such a wonderful invention most of the time. I was a terrible letter writer. The intentions were there. I would write the letter, but somehow the task of getting it into the mailbox was too hard. It must be the procrastination part of me.

In the last few weeks I have received e-mails from some people that I have not kept in touch with for many years. It was a joy to open those e-mails and catch up on their news.

I now have a way to keep in touch because I now have their e-mail addresses.

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There are also the other e-mails. The ones we call spam. They are annoying, but on occasion the spam brings good deals, especially the Viagra kind, if you are looking for Viagra, and then the filter from my Internet provider usually catches it.

I also receive e-mails from my credit card companies when something is going to change. I received one of those e-mails recently. At first I thought I had misread the e-mail. Here is what it said: “To increase your payment choices, we are making some important changes to your account. You will now have two options when making your online payment; you may select to pay next day at no charge to you or pay today for a $10 fee.”

I had to read that sentence a couple of times to make sure I was seeing right. If I go online and want to make a payment today they are going to charge me $10. If I put it off until tomorrow they are going to charge me nothing. I am sure this makes sense to someone. It is probably a way to discourage paying at the last minute. However, you are still paying on time so they are essentially charging you a late fee to pay on time.

So far this is the only credit card I have heard from that is going to do that. This is also the same credit card that decided to send me e-statements without my permission and dropped my paper statements. The e-statements ended up in the spam folder, and I never received them. They then decided to call me and tell me two months later that my account was overdue so my $10 charge that I thought I had paid ended up to be $35. I do not owe them any money so I think this credit card is going to go bye-bye from my wallet.

How many of you read the bill payment agreement when you take out a credit card? This particular credit card company tells me that this fees section has just been updated.

It is a good thing they told me because I probably would not have read the bill agreement.

We read our e-mails from our friends and loved ones. We read our e-mails from exciting offers. We read the newspaper. We read magazines. We read the large print and get excited about the low interest rate. We fail to read all the fine print.

How many of us have put a software program on our computers but failed to read the EULA agreement? EULA stands for “end-user license agreement.” We are then surprised when extra programs show up on our computer. The EULA agreement usually contains the information that this software is putting extra programs on our computer. We don’t want to take the time to read all the fine print.

Of course, many of us can’t read the fine print because we can’t see the tiny print. Many of us can’t understand the gobbly-gook language that some companies use to explain our rights. There also is the time factor involved. It takes a few minutes to read those agreements.

We fail to read the fine print on the details of our lives. We are so busy that we miss the fine print on those credit card agreements. We are so busy that we fail to read the fine print on the faces of those we love. We are so busy that we fail to read the fine print on the symptoms our bodies are giving us.

My credit card company is going to charge me a fee for paying today. Our lives may charge us a fee tomorrow for being a day late with the details. Which fee can you afford?

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. E-mail her at