DoNotPay is ready to assist those involved if there is a need to delay rent, credit card or utility payments due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company, known for its legal aid chatbots, is launching a new service that requires companies and landlords to waive and defer payments.
The service identifies any bills that can be deferred or free of late fees, such as utilities and rent. DoNotPay will then contact the relevant company to make compassionate and polite requests. If the request is denied, the service will send a second letter in accordance with local and state laws. Currently, the service is only available in the US, but Joshua Browder, founder of DoNotPay, told The Verge that the company is looking to roll out the service to other countries, such as the UK. Although not all 50 U.S. states have coronavirus-related laws or orders, some states, including California and New York, have taken steps to prohibit landlords from using unreasonable late fees on housing matters or evicting tenants at this time. DoNotPay said it would use “the full effect of local and state laws” for states that do not have a relevant coronavirus law or order in force. Regarding credit card bills, Browder told The Verge that delays or exemptions to address these issues are a “negotiating process.” Some companies, such as Apple, allow cardholders to skip payments in March, but Browder says most companies treat business “business as usual” by asking customers to pay on time without any delays or waivers. As businesses close and many people lose their sources of income, the pandemic has placed a heavy financial burden on many Americans. Although some companies give up or extend payments, many companies insist on strict deadlines and late fees, further adding to the financial burden. The new DoNotPay service is designed to keep Americans focused less on their finances and more on staying healthy and caring for their loved ones. DoNotPay was originally introduced in 2018 to allow individuals access to legal advice through AI-driven legal counsel.