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8 of the Best Excuses for Late Payment

8 of the Best Excuses for Late Payment

Have you ever made late payments simply because you forgot or didn’t have enough cash in your account at the time? It happens, and you’ll need good excuses for late payments to avoid certain consequences or sanctions.

This is especially important if you’re a repeat offender of late payments, or when you want to ask for deferred payments. Your excuses have to be rock solid or else you’re going to find yourself in a hole.

Welcome to the home of the best excuses you can use, whether true or a bit of a white lie. Here are 8 excuses for late payments you can use in any situation:


Excuses that make the late payment look like an unintentional mistake:


01“Didn’t get the bill, went to junk”
Most bills these days are sent via email or text message. A good excuse to use is to say that it went to junk or spam since people don’t usually check those.
It is good to use with a landlord who sends a notice for rent, or when you fail to pay for a subscription service like your gym membership.
You may also use this for physical mail, and claim you never got the bill.
It will work because if you didn’t see the bill or notice, then there’s no way you would’ve known you were late or overdue.
Many times, people don’t even remember about bills until they get the mail, especially because there are often so many.
Lots of people genuinely have “oh crap, the water bill” moments days after they’re done paying for gas, insurance, internet, electricity, and so on.
This is how you can say it:
“My sincerest apologies for the late payment. I just searched my spam and saw the original bill. I don’t know why it was sent there.”
And for physical mail:
“I’ve checked my mailbox but I haven’t seen any notice from you. Perhaps I accidentally threw it away with the junk mail.”


separate trash bins photo
Photo by acworks on photo-ac


02“Someone else was supposed to pay”
While the bill is in your name and you are expected to be the one paying for it, it is normal for you to ask someone else to do it, like your brother or a friend.
Unfortunately, not everyone is reliable and they may pay it too late or simply forget that you asked. We’re only human after all.
This can also work in a shared living situation where the money is pooled and then sent to the landlord. There are so many cases of roommates failing to put up their portion, and not paying the total until they come up with the rest.
In a case like this, you will have to appeal to the person in charge of collections. Here’s an example of what you can say:
“I gave [insert name of roommate] my half on the 19th. Let me get in touch with him/her to get this sorted immediately. I’m sorry this happened. Next time I’ll handle everything directly.”


woman counting money

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon under Unsplash License


03“I was on vacation/out of town”
If you’re out of town or on vacation, your mind may be anywhere but your bills.
Oops, you’re on your third margarita on a white sand beach in the Caribbean and you get an urgent message from a collector. Your bill is due and you have not paid- is this a good excuses for late payment?
Yes, it happens, especially if you had contacted the company to request a temporary suspension of services. Perhaps the customer service agent did not make a note of that.
Or maybe you just forgot in the midst of having fun or doing business. Whatever the case is, here’s what you can say:
“I’m currently out of the country and I won’t be back until the end of the month. Is there any way I can defer payments until then to rectify the issue?”


vacation at the beach

Image from Canva – under one-time use license


Excuses for late payment when you want to ask for deferred payments:


04Out of a job
When you get fired or you leave your job, the bills may pile up much faster than usual. Luckily, you might be able to request deferred payments in some cases until you land a new job.
This is a good excuse to use, as obviously, you intend to make payments, but you just don’t have the means.
You can work out the actual details with the company, but in the meantime, you can say something like this:
“Recently I was laid off from my role of 15 years and I’m in the process of looking for a new job. In the meantime, I have to survive off my savings and I am not able to budget for the usual payments.
May I set up an appointment to discuss deferred payments until I am more financially secure?”


men in office uniform arguing

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann under Unsplash License



05The pandemic
The pandemic has become one of the most common excuses for late payment and deferrals lately.
The pandemic is affecting everyone in so many different ways, whether physically by contracting the virus, mentally by having to quarantine, or financially by losing a job or having to close down a business.
Financially, this is not your fault, with many institutions acknowledging this and willing to work with customers to get through the current situation.
You can use this in pretty much any scenario, whether you are a college student short on tuition, or a single mom out of work.
Here’s an example of what you can say:
“Both my parents have been forced to work shorter hours due to the pandemic and have been unable to send me the full amount for tuition.
I am requesting a payment plan during this difficult period. I need to complete my degree and I don’t want this to get in the way.”


ask for pay raise pandemic woman in gray hoodie wearing white mask looking at the monitor
Photo by Engin Akyurt under pexels license


Excuses for late payment when the problem is not yours:


06“The cheque is in the mail”
Okay, this is probably one of the most common excuses for late payment, but it does happen sometimes.
If you pay your mortgage, insurance or other bills by sending a cheque in the mail, it won’t be received instantly as it would via kiosk or online payment.
If you happen to mail it at the last minute, it may take a couple of days for it to be received.
Here’s what you can say:
“I noticed my payment was marked late, but I sent the check in the mail two days ago. I’ll have to contact the postal service to find out what’s happening.”


brown envelopes in mail box

Image from under Pexels License


07“My autopay got turned off”
Many people set up automatic bill payments because it’s much easier and payments will actually be made on time.
However, let’s say the app has updated and has a bug, or you turned off the autopay accidentally.
The money will not be removed from your account and the bill will not be paid until the matter is rectified. This is a simple mistake and collectors may give you leniency if this has never happened before.
Here’s what you can say:
“I have it on autopay so it gets taken out automatically. I don’t know why, but it’s off right now so let me contact my bank to see what the issue is.”


person pressing on the atm keys

Photo by Eduardo Soares on unsplash



08“Work wasn’t completed to satisfaction”
If you have contracted the services of subcontractors or even gotten into business with a supplier, it is very disappointing to not see them fulfill their promises. In fact, you have a right to withhold payment until the contract is completed.
Imagine getting your home remodeled, and the contractor does a poor job or things are left unfinished; or you received faulty products.
This is one of the best excuses for late payments because it would be insane to pay for something that was not fulfilled or completed to satisfaction. When approached, use some version of this to explain your stance:
“According to our contract, you were supposed to [insert task/duty]. This was not fulfilled, so as a result, I am withholding payment until the contract is satisfied.
If this is an issue, we can deal with the matter in court.”


asking for forgiveness from his mad girlfriend
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash



These excuses for late payment are foolproof once you pick the right one and sound convincing enough (if you’re telling a white lie). Just don’t let it become a habit!