Are late fees on top of late fees legal?

Q: Is it legal to keep charging late fees on top of late fees when everything else has been paid in full? I was charged a late fee and did not pay it. Now I am being charged a late fee each month for not paying the original late fee. Otherwise my account is paid in full.

A: It depends. What type of debt is this? If it is a credit card, PA collection laws may apply. If this debt is for unpaid real estate taxes or municipal services, there may be other consumer protection laws that apply, but generally, the laws are against the taxpayer regarding taxes. Does your original agreement for services, permit late fees? Does it allow unpaid late fees to accrue and continually charge interest? Generally, even if valid, late fees and interest can be negotiated downward. You can try this on your own, but if not successful, I advise you to see a lawyer as he or she can look at your original contract or agreement and advise if what is being done is permissible and, if any debt collection protection law applies to you.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.