I question everything. I’m convinced that every deal, offer and incentive has an underlying trick or deceptive tactic that will ‘get me’ should I opt-in. So when I received a piece of mail from Ford Credit that said “Defer your payment” – I was skeptical.
But instead of placing the offer in the trash like I normally would, I called the number to see exactly what this ‘deal’ was.
The representative explained that I qualified for a payment deferral. This meant I would incur a nominal fee, but would be allowed to miss my next vehicle payment without a late-fee penalty and without any negative credit action. The deferral would simply turn my 36 month loan into a 37 month loan, extending by one month my payoff period.
The fees, both the deferment fee and the late-fee penalty vary depending on the state you reside in. Some states allow no fees at all, while others limit fees to specific dollar amount.
The Ford Credit representative said the fee to defer my payment as a Virginia resident would be $25.00. If I skipped a payment, my fee would be a percentage of my monthly payment (in my case: $47.10). It could also possibly result in a credit blemish depending on when the account was back in good standing.
Why now? Was this routine marketing or a holiday special?
I spoke to a Ford Credit communications representative who explained that Deferred Payment Programs had been used in the past and this offer was not a ‘holiday promotion.’ She went on to say Ford Credit uses similar programs to aid victims of disasters.
Just recently Ford Credit sent notices to customers living in areas affected by Hurricane “Super Storm” Sandy informing them that their payments would be deferred for two months without any fee.
While the offer in my mailbox wasn’t aimed at the holidays, I couldn’t think of a better time to give families the option of having a little extra money in their budget. And for those on limited budgets, paying a small fee to free up an entire car payment’s worth of money during the holidays is a very welcome offer.
Holiday budget woes
During the holidays families travel, give gifts, prepare grand feasts, laugh and love. That is, if they have the resources.
Many families are still out of work or are recovering from a bankruptcy or other financial disaster. They struggle to make ends meet and their finances don’t allow the same holidays they once had.
Sure, being happy, healthy and with family and friends is a very thankful gift. But what parent doesn’t want to watch their child open a gift and see him or her light up with excitement?
After all a child’s smile is a priceless gift to any parent.
My family will not take advantage of this deferred payment. We are fortunate this holiday season.
Other families are not as fortunate.
For those families this program can make a difference. For those families this program is a gift.
And for this, I say thank you Ford Credit.