is my credit card company unfairly keeping me from paying? What can I do about it?

I always pay my credit card online; I hate mailing things and waiting for checks to clear. The credit card company knows this, as a year ago I opted for no paper mailings. I just want to make it clear that they have it on file that I do all of my transactions with them online exclusively.

Last month, I put off logging in to pay the bill, and when I logged in to pay it, it was basically the day before it was due; I’d be paying it at the last minute. Yet when I tried to pay, I was hit with a message: “Due to maintenance, this service is not available right now. Please log in later.”

For some reason, it just seemed fishy- it seemed like they knew that it was the last minute for me, so they conveniently had my ability to pay the bill “disabled,” hoping to make me either a) pay it late or b) force me to call them and make a $15 phone payment.

So I got my wife (who has her own seperate line of credit through the same bank) to log in to her account. Surprise, surprise - everything was completely normal for hers. So I logged back in - same “down for maintenance” message.

Do you think they were trying to scam me? I do. It just seems too convenient for them, especially when her account (not due the next day) was completely operational.

I’m assuming this is illegal? It’s certainly unethical. Is there any way that I can “catch them in the act” next time? How do I document and prove this? Who do I report this to?

What’s your take on the whole thing?

We live overseas, but our bills are to be paid in the US. I noticed the same thing when I paid on the credit card website. I now pay via credit union or bank online because I know when they do maintenance [late sund night US time]. Major credit cards are paid within two + days. Plus I can pay a shitload of bills at once.

How long did you wait between trying? Sometimes I get similar error messages from sites online, but it’s really just a burp in the server or whatever… and “maintenance” is their default excuse for when something doesn’t work. Rather say it’s “maintenance” than getting a hundred complaint emails that their site is down or spit out an error. It’s also possible you and your wifes’ accounts, or the payment processor-thingy, is on a different computer that actually was getting maintenance. That would explain why it gave you an error when you tried to pay, but you and your wife both could load your accounts. Now, if she successfully completed a payment transaction, then that throws that theory out the window.

A lot of times when that kind of thing happens, I’ll wait half an hour then try again and everything is hunky-dory.

It is odd. I would think that if they did something like that regularly though, they’d be dealing with a lot of pissed-off customers real quick. I would write them and comment that you had trouble paying, and see what they say. If you had to pay a fee, try to get them to reimburse it. Hard to really say if they are doing it on purpose or not without a history of the same.

I usually get a email warning about these things. I don’t think they are trying to make you miss your payments date. Do you know that many of these online systems will let you set your payment date, so you can log on 2 weeks before the date and tell the CC to make the payment a day before it’s due.