How to dispute a late fee on a bill we weren't sent?
July 9, 2019 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Our NYC co-op's management company stopped sending us statements a few months ago. We didn't notice until we missed an extra assessment last month and they put a paper notice under our door for the remaining balance and a late fee. We're now all paid up except for the late fee, which we want to dispute. How do we do that? Note: communication with the management company is difficult.

We live in a co-op in New York City.

When we moved in, we signed up for electronic statements and automatic payments. At first, things worked fine: we got a statement via email, and our payment went out unattended.

A few months ago, we stopped getting the statements. We didn't notice because we were still seeing the payments go out as expected.

In June, there was an extra assessment. We didn't know about the assessment because we weren't getting statements. We only paid our usual rent.

Toward the end of June, we got a paper notice under our door listing the remaining balance as well as a late fee. That was when we figured out that we hadn't gotten statements for a few months.

I think we have now reconciled our accounting with theirs and paid everything we owe except the late fee.

What are our options for getting out of this late fee?

A major complicating factor here is that the management company is kind of...hard to communicate with. They appear to respond to at most one question per email, not always correctly or even plausibly.

For example, they initially said that they don't save copies of our previous statements (?!). Then they started sending us incorrect statements, like one document showing that we had a zero balance because we had auto-paid it all, and another document with completely unfamiliar numbers that turned out to be a different apartment's account.

Three weeks in, they still have not explained why we stopped getting our statements, indicated that we will start getting them again, or responded either positively or negatively to our request to be forgiven the late fee.

I'm tempted to go to their offices in person, but they're only open during work hours and not reliably in the office during those hours. Also, given how confused they seem to be, I really want to communicate with them in writing.

I've also considered trying to appeal directly to the co-op board, but I'm uncertain how to contact the board members or whether that'd even be a good idea.

posted by meaty shoe puppet to Work & Money (1 answer total)
I don't know how cooperative your co-op board is. (The stereotype in NYC is that they generally aren't.) But, if you can talk to them, they have the power to dismiss your late fee. Also, you might consider starting a conversation about your co-op changing management companies. If they're this incompetent about the little things, then imagine what will happen when you and the other residents really need them.
posted by Citrus at 9:19 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]

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