Have you seen the latest Bank of America offer of $100 (offer expired) for opening a checking account? How about Comcast willing to pay you $25 a month  to trade in your dish (or one you just bought off Ebay) and get you as a subscriber? Companies try their hardest to get new customers and with the prevailing attitude that it’s cheaper to keep a customer than it is to get a new one, you can get out of almost any penalty or fee if you simply ask. Just ask.
I’ve missed a credit card payment before on several (three times maybe, over the course of seven years) where I thought I did a payment online or, even farther back, I just misplaced the envelope and forgot (out of sight, out of mind). Well, in each case I was obviously dinged with a $10 or a $20 finance charge. Just call up the credit card company and tell them that you simply forgot, you’re a good customer, and could they waive the penalty. If they decline, simply tell them, politely, that you’d like to stay a loyal customer but if the credit card company isn’t willing to waive a small fee then you’ll try to find someone more understanding. In most cases, a CSR (customer service representative) has the authority to waive minor fees. Just give them a good reason.
The other day I discovered that at my credit union that I have overdraft protection on my checking account, if overdrawn money is automatically transferred from my savings account. I had seen it happen a number of times but I figured in the computer age, this service should be completely free. Maybe back in the day when someone had to write something in a ledger, I could understand it costing something. Anyhow, I have two overdraft protections a month and each one after that costs me a whopping $20. Well, that month I had my two and tacked on a third when I made a transfer to my ING Direct account and what walloped with the overdraft fee. I went in and politely talked to the credit union’s reps and told them I didn’t know about the overdraft (I didn’t) and if they could waive that fee. They did. (with a little bit of grumbling)
Moral: Always ask to have a fee refunded. If they say no, politely ask to have the account closed because you don’t understand why they wouldn’t help out a loyal customer (I think the wording of that line is very important), and don’t forget/mess up too often. It wouldn’t be unreasonable if they denied my attempt to have a second overdraft fee waived and I’d be irresponsible to expect them to waive it. Please share experiences you may have doing the same thing because the customer is always right!