overdraft fee

How I Got My $35 Overdraft Fee Reversed in Less than a Minute

by Tim on October 25, 2011

My wife and I have a few payments taken directly out of our savings account.  Her paychecks would go directly into the savings and there would always be enough to cover it.  Since she’s stopped working, I’ve been transferring money from our checking account to cover the payments.  Unfortunately, I forgot to transfer some money this month and the payment caused an overdraft fee to hit my savings account.  I can’t stand fees and getting knocked with a $35 overdraft fee didn’t feel good at all!

I was really close to just accepting the fee; I mean it was my mistake and all, right?

Yes, that’s true.  It was my own mistake, and in my four years of using the bank, I haven’t had any overdraft fees, so one isn’t too bad.

That’s what I thought until I read chapter two of Ramit Sethi’s book I Will Teach You To Be Rich  (No the book isn’t about getting rich quick – it’s about living a richer and fuller life by automating your finances.)  Call it coincidence that my first overdraft fee occur the week before I read this chapter in his book; all I know is that it was perfect timing and his script worked.


Ramit provided a script in chapter two (titled Beat the Banks) that walks you through the call to your bank to reverse overdraft fees.  The longest part of the call was waiting to speak with a representative.  It was simply a matter of doing it.

Reversing the Bank Charge

I was prepared to follow his entire script, which isn’t too long (three lines to be exact).  But I didn’t even make it past the first line before the representative reversed the charge.

My call went just like this:

Representative: “Hi this is Cara, how can I help you”

Me: “Hi Cara, I saw a bank charge on my savings account and I’m calling to have it waived.

Representative: “Ok, one second……..(about 10 seconds go by)……Ok, I’m going to reverse this fee as a courtesy this time, but any waivers in the future will need to be a bank error.”

Me: “Thanks, Cara, I really appreciate it.”

It sounds too simple, and I was seriously impressed with the bank that they didn’t even question or doubt that it was a simple error.  They just corrected it.

You never know until you ask, but when you do, make sure you’re prepared, to the point, and polite.  I was ready to give her the date of the fee, the account number, security question answer, and had my reason for reversal thought out.  Being polite and addressing her by name never hurts, so I always try to make that a part of the conversation.

So what about you?  Have you had a bank charge recently?  ATM fees, overdraft fees, anything?  Try calling the bank and asking for a reversal.   Don’t think this will work? Try it out and let us know in the comments.

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