Why do I need to pay off my past balance before negotiating?

Many providers will not negotiate on their rates if you have a past due balance. You can tell if you do because the bill will say it is Overdue, Past Due, or have a “Please Pay Immediately” warning. It’s an unfair process, since often that’s when you need help the most. However, we frequently can’t even get to a human being to negotiate—the automated systems will just automatically redirect to payment.

How much do I have to pay off for you to negotiate?

This will vary by provider. With most providers, you’ll need to either be current up through this month or last month. You can almost always not have paid this month’s new charges yet and we’ll still be able to negotiate. Often, you can have not paid last month’s or this month’s and you’ll be okay. However, that’s not always the case.

If you have any charges from the month before last, then the rules about being required to pay off the balance to continue will kick in.

If you’re not sure how much of the balance you need to pay off, you can check your bill or biller’s website. If the bill has a “Please Pay Immediately” amount on it, then paying off that amount will essentially guarantee we’re able to negotiate. Otherwise, you can contact your provider via phone or livechat and they’ll be able to tell you.

But you’ll have to let us know soon since when the next bill cycle starts, the bill may be overdue again.

Are you sure I have to pay off the overdue balance?

If we send you a message about the overdue balance, it means we’ve likely already contacted your provider about the account and they wouldn’t work with us. In some cases, it means we know the provider’s policy ahead of time. We want to negotiate your bill and help you out for the future, but unfortunately we’re at the mercy of the provider if we’re asking.

What if I can’t pay off the overdue balance?

You can try contacting your provider. Some will let you set up a payment plan in order to get your account back in good standing. Depending on the reason, others may be able to help in various ways. If you’re overdue because you are having trouble affording the bill, many providers have low income billing plans that are even lower rates than we’d be able to negotiate.

What about late fees?

We can often get late fees waived when we negotiate. So, once you pay off the overdue balance from last month, you’ll still have the late fee from this month and we can try to negotiate that. It’s not a sure thing, but they tend to be possible to waive. If you had late fees in previous months, it is less likely they can be waived, but we’ll always try anything we can to help.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles