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Letter From Amex Lowing My Limit
Posted by Mrdjjames on 01/06/2009
TEXAS -- Here is their Letter to me via email:

We are contacting you to let you know that after a thorough review of your credit profile we have lowered the credit limit on the account listed above. We wanted you to be aware of this change immediately.

Your revised credit limit for purchases is now $500.00. The new cash advance limit is $200.00. Please ensure that any additional card members on the account are also aware of this change.


This is not acceptable and I have no issues on my credit. Just checked. I pay my bills off and they can't make any money off me. That is why they did this.

BTW My Credit Limit was 5,000. I work hard to get my credit right. Just got approved for any home I want in this economy! That isn't easy to do AMEX! Shame on you.

     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
Well, at least you got a letter. I got one too, three weeks AFTER the fact via USPS. I didn't receive the courtesy of an email. After you get over being upset (which is justified) you will be glad they did it. If you belong to one, get a card from your credit union. They are easier to do business with.
Posted by lobo65 on 2009-01-06:
If your credit score is good, try getting a card with a credit union. My interest rate with USAA is 4.5% with a $10,000 credit limit.
Posted by DigitalCommando on 2009-01-06:
lobo65 is right, my credit union is lowering my percentage rate and increasing my credit limit as we speak, even in these tough times. It is because you are still viewed as a human being who is judged and rewarded by what you do as opposed to some bell curve that sees you as nothing more than a disposable profit center subject to its ever- changing whims.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-06:
I have to thank you DC for reminding me about my credit union. Since we chatted I have moved everything over to them and I couldn't be happier.
Posted by DigitalCommando on 2009-01-06:
CU's don't invest in risky or new ventures like CDO's, so they are safe and so is your money. If you have a good credit rating now, it would be wise for those of you who maintain a loyalty to your big bank to at least start an account with a credit union now before they trash your credit score, which absolutely will happen to everybody at some point during the next year. Your loyalty is admireable but misplaced. Move to an institution that is actually run by real, caring people just like you, while you still can. Thanks John!
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Amex Ruins My Credit Score
Posted by Italianboarder on 06/30/2008
I have been a so-called Amex Cardmember since 1995. back in those days Amex had the best customer service. When I was in college I opened a Blue account and I was given a credit line for $9200, since my credit score was excellent. That was in 1997.

I used my card to pay for college expenses, I have not been late once and always paid more than the minimum amount. Now every time I have more than $500 available credit American Express will reduce my credit limit to the total amount owed so that my card looks maxed out. This is affecting my credit score dramatically because it is in good part based on how much credit available you have. I tried to explain this to Customer Service and even to a manager who, in few words, told me it really wasn't any of their problem and thank you for being a loyal cardmember for 13 years (I even had a Platinum card at a time, which I closed since I had little use for it and it was wasteful to pay $400/year just to have it). I sent a letter in April 2008 explaining what they were doing to my credit score and never got a reply. Meanwhile I kept making my payment and since last March I accumulated again another $600 available credit to find out, today, that they have reduced my limit again so my card, once again, looks maxed out in my credit report (this is the 4th time they do it).

Why are there no laws in the US, unlike the European Union, to protect consumers from this kind of practices? In Italy any interest rate over 12% is considered illegal and falls under the extortion law.
As soon as my card is paid off I will close my Amex account and I don't want to hear from them again. So much for being a "great cardmember" who has always paid on-time, before the due date actually, and more than the minimum due.


Update: July 13 2008

Guess what? I just got a letter from Amex, they did it again.
In 4 months I built another $600 available credit and they cut the limit so my card now has $0 available credit. They sent a letter saying they were decreasing my limit because my debt to available balance ratio was too low!! The nerve!! They are F*****ing doing it!
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-01:
Just so you know, when anyone runs a credit check on you, they get a list of what you have and had in regard to credit, if you have been late (it's listed 30, 60 90 days and has an X by the number of days if you have been late). The card may be lowering your number, but the number isn't the bottom line. If you always pay on time, you are good to go. If I were you, though, I'd drop the card. I don't mess with people who want to mess with me. Slamming the door on them is the only thing they understand.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-01:
Close it NOW and pay it off.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-01:
Lowering your available credit does not harm your score, in fact, it likely raises it. A major part of your score is determined on how much available credit you have, the more you have, the greater risk you are. From the creditor's point of view, you could have $100k in available credit, then get laid off, and max out all that credit with no ability to repay. So having a lower available amount, with a good payment history, actually raises your score.
Times are tough, and the credit card companies are all starting to limit their exposure to loss.
Posted by quickstep on 2008-07-01:
Sorry Ken, you are incorrect.

One of the most widely circulated credit card myths is that lowering the credit limit (or closing an acct) increases the score. It's FALSE. Available credit plays a factor but not nearly as much as % utilization, hence lowering a credit limit ALMOST ALWAYS will lower one's credit score by increasing % utilization. I cringe every time I see this urban legend propagated.

Similarly, because length of credit history with an issuer is also weighed heavily, any "advice" to close an account can be extra harmful in addition to increaseing % utilization.

I highly recommened everyone google "credit scoring myths" to learn more details
Posted by Sparticus on 2008-07-01:
I heard something similar as quickstep is stating. I believe it was on the Suzi Orman Show. She was saying how the length of time you have a credit card is very important to your credit score. So just because you have an inactive card with a high limit, don't close it necessarily. It may end up hurting you more than helping since you are eliminating credit history which is needed for your score. A vicious circle.
Posted by italianboarder on 2008-07-06:
Sorry, Ken, I agree with quickstep, you are incorrect.
Lowering your available credit "might" increase your credit score but only in very limited situations, in most cases it will harm your score because the debt to available credit ratio increases therefore showing that you are using most of your available score. Unfortunately the system used by credit report agencies allows for all kind of negative information but is very limited to the amount of positive information evaluated. For example I paid my truck loan 6 months in advance but it did not benefit my score.
Posted by InShock on 2009-10-16:
The same has happened to me over the last 18 months, as soon as I had a decent amount of "available credit" on Amex Blue, they cut the limit to just above the amount outstanding. Ecery time this happens the explanation is "because of a report from Experian citing too high utilization of available credit". The first time it happened was when an "online retailer" mistakenly entered my account number in instead of their customer, for a purchase of over $5000.00 when I challenged it the cancelled the card (for security reasons) and issued a new one. Amex said they would write to the retailer and if the retailer accepted their mistake then my account would be credited the erroneous amount, meantime I would not be charged interest but the account balance would remain %5000 higher than it actually should be untill the process finished - which they said could be up to 3 billing cycles. I had to contact the retailer myself and threaten them with legal action to force them to make a refund. As soon as the $5000 was credited Amex lowered my limit, again the reason was because Experian said the ratio was too high.
Anyone that still has Amex will notice that Amex and Experian are working very very closely these days - legalised fraud is what I would call it.
Posted by enragedmaniac on 2012-12-28:
American Express is the worst credit card comapany. They are ruthless in their practices and there is no appreciation of card members with tenure. They are treated the same as someone of the street. The company is loathsome.
Posted by adevinec on 2014-01-22:
Wish I had read these reviews before I had my bad experience with AMEX. I would have closed my accounts. I will be working hard at that now. My 21 yr history with this company obviously meant more to me than this company. There are plenty of other places to do business with who will welcome you.
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American Express Just Decreased My Credit Limit
Posted by Mindmltn on 03/16/2009
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA -- I have been a American Express customer for 4 years now and I have never been late or not paid my bill. I have a limit rather I had a limit of $5000 and I have been leaning on it the last 6 months for gas and other things since my work hasn't given out raises in three years due to the recession. I have a credit score of 736 and have no delinquent or derogatory items on it.
I have a total of $6700 in revolving credit and I am paying it down as fast as I can.

I just made a $1000 payment to my blue card last month and they reduced my limit to $3900 which leaves me with an available balance of $130. This is the third time they have reduced my limit from the $5000 I opened it with and I have had to threaten to close my account to get them to put it back to what it was when I opened it.

I was told by their customer service that after reviewing my credit I have too much debit and they reduced my limit because of that fact. I have never made any payments late on any of my Car loans, Personal Loans, or credit cards and don't have anything negative on my credit.

I am completely disgusted with American Express for this and I am going to open a new account with another credit card company and transfer my balance and close my account even if it adversely affects my credit. I am tired of American Express punishing their good customers for no reason at all except they decided that I am over my extended which I am not.

I just am paying it down slowly so I always have cash on hand for emergency's.
I see this as a trend for all of their customers over the last 5 months. I hope they lose a lot of customers because of this practice and I hope that our government doesn't give them a dime of bailout money. I am just disgusted by them and I will be closing my account ASAP.

They charge merchants the highest fees out of all credit card companies for transactions and treat their customers like crap. I am done with them and I hope that everyone else who has an account with them does the same as it will happen to you too. Good luck to all of you and I hope that you don’t have the same experience with American Express that I have been having.

They are just terrible. Shame on you American Express.
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-03-16:
A lot of us here feel your pain. Don't feel bad, they are doing this to everyone. It doesn't make it any easier to swallow but they are not singling you out.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-03-16:
"They charge merchants the highest fees out of all credit card companies for transactions and treat their customers like crap."

The answer is found in convincing merchants to drop Amex in favor of other forms of payment. It's no fun for a retail employee to tell an Amex customer that their purchase has been declined because Amex closed the account or reduced the available credit without notice. Amex sets up merchant's employees to be their messenger and ultimately the customer's whipping boy. It's time to send Amex to the dung heap.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-03-16:
I read on MSN today that all credit cards are lowering everyones limits. Like John said, it's not just you. It's not fair, but it's legal.
Posted by CONCERNED for USA on 2009-03-16:
START CONTACTING YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN VIA EMAIL AFTER ALL IT IS BOTH PARTIES GIVING THE TAXES THEY TAKE FROM YOU TO THESE LENDERS. CALL THEM EMAIL THEM!!!! THEY START GETTING THOUSANDS OF CONTACTS IT WORKS.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Not Again - Unreliable Company
Posted by Skyvm45 on 08/02/2012
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- I got approved for Blue cash reward with 10k credit line a week ago, not to mention I have been valid customer since 2003 owned few AMEX cards including AMEX GOLD CARD, those are closed due to bad some experience with AMEX - anyway this morning 8/2/2012 tried to order a PC (around $1500, just ordered another a day ago had no problem) from DELL and got declined, so called AMEX, the rep, she told me that she will unlocked the card for me and let the transaction go through, after all the security questions I passed and 5 - 10 minutes hold then she came back said although I had cleared all the questions now account has been suspended and under financial review.

WHAT >????? I told her I need it immediately and I was in rush need for my personal business which she was promised that transaction will go though : ( WOW... not a again >> seriously AMEX ?? I have 200K in one of my bank account and a stable job. I use credit cards about 300K in 8 - 10 years period and assume they charge 5% fee to all the merchandise, how much money they lose if lose my account?? last, I made the wrong choice to go back to AMEX. AMEX is a such unreliable company, now I will just stick with Citibank, chase and Bank of America, I will never go back to AMEX again ! I will not recommend to anyone including my family , fiends , coworkers etc !
     
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-08-02:
Sounds to me like this is a brand new card you were using, and you ordered expensive items two days in a row. I can see how this may trigger a warning of some sort.

Remember that you are using AMEX's money, until they are paid back. They don't know how much is in your bank account unless it is on deposit with them.

I believe the merchant fees are around 2 to 3%. It is true they may lost your business, but imagine how many millions they lost each year to fraud. Personally, I like it when my CC bank's fraud alert is triggered, which has only happened two times in 25 years - it shows me they are being careful. Each to their own I guess.
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American Express is the worst Credit Card Company in business
Posted by Whit29 on 12/05/2010
I have had an American Express Blue card for close to 10 years. I have other credit cards as well from Chase, Citi, HSBC, BofA. I don't use my AmEx all that much lately as I have a BofA card linked to my daughters 529 account and use that mostly for the rewards.

I had a balence of $28.00 on my AmEx and I was away and it was due just after Thanksgiving. I have never been late before on this card, I have a 750 credit score always try to be on time. I realized I misplaced the bill before the holiday and my trip and so I was a few days late and thought I'd call and see if they would waive the $15 late fee charge since it was a first time late charge in 10 years and that I just paid the bill on line. All other credit companies have helped me take a charge off in the past be it for overlimit charge or something like that, I thought AmEx would for sure do it, BUT NO... I even told them I would cancel my card if they wouldn't take the charge off as I was put so aback that they would put making a dollar over good customer service and they said they still couldn't do it. So I told them to place cancel me and they did and I was so in shock that they would be that pathetic on keeping customer's happy. It's not like this happened 3 months ago and I'm asking them to do it again. MY balance was a little $28.00 not like it was $5,000 or something and I'm trying to getaway with something.

In all, I will NEVER work with American Express again and I hope everyone sees them for the bloodsuckers they are. I would work with any other credit card company over AmEx as all other companies have proven to me to put the customer first and not bottom line.

     
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Posted by tnchuck100 on 2010-12-05:
Welcome to the American Express of today. They care not about you or your past good record. That $15 fee is far more important to them.

It is their right to refuse any form of consideration. As it is your right to tell them to stuff it.

Good move. Many are doing likewise.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-12-05:
Holding an AMEX that you do not use doesn't really generate a lot of revenue for them, even if your account is 10 years old. It sounds like you do this with a lot of your cards and it really isn't the best practice to depend on these types of favors in this economy. Businesses aren't doing as well as they have in the past either.
Posted by goodbyeamex on 2010-12-29:
This is yet another great example of how unlike most other credit cards American Express has lost their human face. They have become so huge I guess they forgot they ever had one.
Posted by no1panthersfan on 2011-02-26:
I'm wondering if something is being left out or exagerated. If you were truly a ten year member, and this was honestly the first late payment you've EVER made and they refused to credit/waive the late fee, something else was going on. Did they say they COULDN'T do it or WOULDN'T do it? Did they tell you why? Did you ask for a supervisor before you threatened to cancel your card? I know there are bad customer service reps at every company, but you cancelled your card over a $15 late fee after talking to one person?
Posted by Cardman on 2012-05-10:
I had a PERFECT Amex record for 12 years and they essentially did the same to me, except the late fee was $25 and the supervisor was rude about it. I was polite and the supervisor must have entered something in the computer because two other agents said the computer wouldn't let them do anything. Bye bye AMEX.
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Extremely Unhappy Victim Of Credit Limit Slashing!
Posted by Eshugarts on 04/02/2009
VOORHEES, NEW JERSEY -- I have been an American Express card holder since the year 2000 and I have worked extremely hard to build the credit that I had. I currently have three credit card accounts with American Express.

On my BLUE credit card between 10/17/08 and 11/18/08 statements my credit line was reduced from $48,000 to $40,000 (17%, within $750 of my balance). During the same time period they imposed a $1,700 credit limit on my ONE credit card which always had been unlimited. I had charged and paid each month more than $2,000 consistently for years on that card and now I had to scramble to move automatic payments, I had several charges declined after the limit was set and was left with egg on my face.

After calling customer service several times they said this was due to a credit review and there was nothing that could be done about it. On 4/2/09 I was notified that my BLUE credit line was reduced from $40,000 to $9,600 (76%, within $200 of my balance). After calling customer service and speaking with a manager they said this was due to a high debt/credit ratio and there was nothing that could be done about it. I have never made a late payment and I typically pay much higher than the minimum payment.

At a minimum this is horrible customer service and at a maximum they have severely impacted my credit rating by increasing my debt/credit ratio. My debt/credit ratio has not changed dramatically in over a year and my credit score is over 700, what they are doing is completely arbitrary. I would not be surprised if they lower my limit again in the near future as they are now creating a self-fulfilled prophecy by manipulating my credit.

From the research I have done there are hundreds if not thousands of customers being affected in the same way and I am looking for a class action lawsuit to join if this can not be resolved immediately. I am so unhappy that I want to immediately cancel all of my credit accounts with American Express, the only reason I have not is it will hurt my credit scores even more. Please help!
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-02:
If you were successfully managing to run over $40K in unsecured debt, you are a business owner and probably have some influence. Use it to persuade other businesses (retail) to jump off of the Amex ACCEPTING wagon.
Posted by JINTS22 on 2009-04-03:
I had all three Amex cards (Platinum, Blue for Business, and Business Mgmt Acct. ) since 1999. I own a business in Florida, and sold my NJ business to my son, who is registered as a LLC. I am a Sole proprietorship... totally different ownership. My son did some sub-contract business for me for which I owed him $2000.00. I called Amex to be sure it would be no problem. They told me absolutely not, we are registered as separate ownership by D&B. He ran my card and it was declined. I called them and their response was "We not only declined the card, we have suspended all of your cards! Even though they had a record of my inquiry 5 minutes previously, they took zero responsibility. They are Bozo's and deserve to go down.
Posted by bgrace on 2009-04-04:
Similar thing happened to me. Its terrible to not be warned in advance and face embarrassment of declined card. I cannot understand why they are wholesale dumping good customers, unless they are about to go under or something. Recently they were offering 300 to some customers to cancel their accounts. Something strange going on here.
Posted by mbyrnes on 2009-04-30:
It sounds like they are liquidating their assets so that they dont go out of business. That is the only logical explanation for their insane behavior!
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American Express Canceled My Card Without Notice
Posted by Mikeca on 01/20/2009
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA -- I have been a customer with AMEX for the past three years. I have always paid on time and never went over the credit limit. I have several other major credit cards and always pay them on time and in full every month.

I used my AMEX for monthly, automated payments and was surprised when a payment came back declined. The payment was declined on January 16,2009. I checked my mail that day and happened to find a letter from AMEX stating (which by the way was dated on January 13,2009) :

Dear (Name):
We are writing to inform you that, after a recent review, your American Express account listed above has been canceled.

The short length of time you have been on file with a consumer reporting agency, in relation to your overall credit profile.

Too many creditors have recently reviewed your credit report.

You have been past due on an American Express account in the last 12 months.

Your account was reviewed using a consumer credit scoring system that evaluated the information in your file at the consumer reporting agency named below. The information provided by the consumer reporting agency included the following factors from your credit report that affected our decision:

Too many accounts with balances
Too many inquiries last 12 months
Too many accounts recently opened
Length of time accounts have been established

Our cancellation of your account under these circumstances may result in negative reporting of this account to the consumer reporting agencies. Additionally, if you do not pay your account in a timely manner, your account may be referred to a collection agency.

Now you can imagine how upset I was. I called AMEX immediately and after spending about four hours on the phone with them, NO ONE could tell me why my account was cancelled. One reason they stated was that I had a past due amount which was never paid with AMEX, which clearly I didn't. I therefore panicked and thought I had been a victim of identity theft and asked to see if there were any other accounts open in my name. The representative established that there weren't and he also confirmed that I had no past due balance on my AMEX account...EVER. He also stated that my credit was excellent and that he would try reinstating my account, which of course was denied.

I quickly went and pulled up my Experian credit report, because the representative said that AMEX had obtained all this information through them. My credit was fine...I have a 728 credit score, no balances unpaid, no delinquencies, no NOTHING. AMEX also stated that they closed my account because I had opened too many recent accounts....which is funny because my AMEX Blue card was the last credit card I ever opened...which was approx three years ago.

This entire experience was completely unbelievable. First, they cancelled my credit card without notice, which resulted in unpaid accounts with other services I used auto pay for with my AMEX. Second, they LIED about the reasons they closed my account. Every time the representative came up with a new reason as to why they closed my account, and I gave him an explanation as to why that could not be possible, he himself had run out of things to say. Third, this may now possible affect my credit score?? WHY??? Fourth, they led me to believe that I had been a victim of identity theft and had me frantically ordering copies of my credit report all morning, which turned out that all was well...

Experian said I am a low risk factor for many lending institutions. My credit score is high, I have no delinquencies or unpaid accounts. I have not opened any recent accounts and I have not had any recent checks to my credit report. WHAT SYSTEM IS AMEX USING TO REVIEW PEOPLE'S CREDIT???

I advise anyone who has an AMEX card to close the account. They obviously don't care that you've paid it in full every month and on time, they don't care about your credit score or credit report...THEY DON'T CARE

I have received much better service my Bank of America Visa's than I ever had with this poor excuse for a company.

Get out.
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-20:
These Amex posts are coming faster and faster. My instincts say Amex is in dire financial straits and is reeling in credit in anticipation of 'something big and bad' coming at them.

All other posts considered: "Abandon ship!" Dump your Amex account immediately, before Amex does it to you. If you cannot pay the balance, close the account to ALL future charges. Cut up the card. And don't forget to pay off what you owe as soon as possible!
Posted by goodfella on 2009-01-20:
This just happened to me today as well. Same exact issue you describe, not to mention that I submitted a payment to American Express the morning of finding out it was canceled that they have refused to refund.

In addition, the rebate check due to us in February (approximately $500) will not be sent, since we are no longer active card holders.

I've already contacted Costco and filed a complaint. Will be contacting my Attorney General and the FTC. Will also be attempting to start a class action lawsuit.
Posted by Jacksgirl on 2009-01-26:
It happened to me last week. I called Amex today and canceled all my accounts rather than submit to their "financial review." We're also offloading our Amex stock. Take that, Amex.
Posted by just_a_guy on 2009-01-27:
I'll post more details some other time, but basically my story is the same.
1. AmEx reduced credit from 25k to 12.1k in October 2008--no problem, I didn't want that much of a limit anyway.
2. I paid the entire balance off (over $11k) less a couple hundred for outstanding transactions on 1/15/09.
3. AmEx canceled my card on 1/18/09 with essentially the same reasons all of these others have posted even though no late payments for AmEx or any other accounts and having held the card since 1999.
4. Wasted 30 minutes arguing with AmEx about their "policy" and finally gave up since they clearly weren't going to do anything about it. Even though all I ever did with them (and other creditors) is pay my bill on time.

Last step for me will be to complain to Costco about AmEx since I wouldn't have even bothered getting the card in the first place if it wasn't the only CC they accepted.
Posted by bb160 on 2009-02-24:
I wandered onto this site after I received a letter from American Express in which they canceled my card in my opinion for no reason. They said " too many creditors reviewed my credit report", but if they did they would see a good credit rating. I have been a cardholder for 11 years and always paid off my balances and never paid late! I have carried a zero balance for a while and this is the thanks I get for not abusing the system! I am also a small business owner and am strongly considering closing my merchant account with American Express.
Posted by Unreliable Service on 2009-02-24:
I received my billing statement with a note saying my account was closed at my request- which is completely false. Then they state that my rebate check is enclosed on the third page. I check and there is nothing there. I don't know if I should even bother calling. What I would like is information on a class action lawsuit.
Posted by Worst AMEX! on 2013-11-09:
I hate AMEX customer service. Now, you get connected to some spanish sounding voice, just because they have to hire them so they don't get hit with the EOE lawsuit. NOT only did they not do what I requested them to do, they yelled at the customer, I HATE THEIR company and I will NEVER recommend them to anyone ever again. NEVER AGAIN. Plus, they pretend to offer you bonuses for small business saturday, when in reality, they are raping transaction fees off of small businesses!!! What a bunch of crooks!!!
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Here's A Way To File A Complaint Against American Express
Posted by Greedbynoothername on 12/03/2008
Join in sharing with with the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit your experience with American Express interest rate increases with less than 45 day notice and no opt out provision.

You can lodge your complaints to: House Financial Services Committee, Democratic Staff, 2129 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515 (Phone 202 225–4247)... contact web page: http://financialservices.house.gov/contact.html

Since Amex has gone to the Federal government and changed their structure to a commercial bank in order to participate in the federal bailout, then they should be held accountable for their own sworn testimony just a few months ago...

Amex has done exactly what they said they don't do in their sworn testimony - they have implemented rate increases ...

( a ) not because of a specific account performance issue,
( b ) with less than 45-days notice,
( c ) without the ability to opt-out,
( d ) claimed that their cost of funds is a rationale in raising rates

Here is the sworn testimony from Larry Sharnak. Executive Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Cards, American Express Company Before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Hearing on H. R. 5244, the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2008 (4/17/2008)...

QUOTING DIRECTLY FROM THE TRANSCRIPT (http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/
financialsvcs_dem/sharnak041708.pdf)

"There are a number of practices we simply do not do:
- We do not increase an individual customers interest rate -- or APR -- for any reason other than the customer's performance on that particular account. If you are an American Express Cardmember, your interest rate will be increased to a penalty rate only if you violate the terms and conditions on that specific American Express account."

"Recently, many have raised concerns that credit card customers have not seen the benefits of recent rate reductions by the Federal Reserve. This is not the case for American Express Cardmembers. As the Prime Rate falls, which normally follows any drop in the federal funds rate, the interest rates applied to American Express variable rate credit card accounts are reduced by an equivalent amount. Since the Federal Reserve began reducing interest rates in September 2007:

- American Express has reduced interest rates on all variable rate credit cards;
- American Express has made these reductions automatically, and;
- American Express has passed along all reductions in the Prime Rate directly to consumers.

It is important to note that while these rate reductions have been directly passed on to consumers, American Express' own cost of funds has not come down at an equivalent rate. As you know, the capital markets are experiencing considerable uncertainty, which has had an impact on the cost of commercial borrowing. Even for well-capitalized, Arated companies, like American Express, interest rate spreads are extremely high. This means that the rate reductions American Express has passed along to consumers have exceeded the reduction in our own cost of funds.

As I mentioned earlier, American Express will not increase an individual Cardmember's interest rate based on their performance with other lenders, or based on a change in our cost of funds. Moreover, we will not raise a Cardmember's interest rate because of their performance on another American Express account. The overwhelming majority of American Express consumer lending accounts, 94 percent, end the year with the same or a lower interest rate than they had at the beginning of the year."

...and about 45-day notice and opting out...

Interest rate increases triggered by the customer's performance on the account in question should not be subject to a 45-day advance notice and an opt-out requirement. However, in circumstances where the rate increase results from reasons not related to the specific account in question, we believe it is appropriate to have advance notice and an opt-out.

As we discuss later in our testimony, advance notice and an opt-out should also apply to any terms change that an issuer may make to the account agreement, in lieu of a complete prohibition on "any time for any reason" terms changes as currently contemplated in the
legislation.




     
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Posted by TGT101 on 2008-12-03:
opting out is the same as canceling the card. You would still be responsible for the whole balance. You can 'opt out' whenever you want.
Posted by greedbynoothername on 2008-12-04:
Not sure I understand your statement that "opting out" is the same as canceling the card. For cards other than American Express, if you "opt out" they honor your existing interest rate on the outstanding balance. In the case of American Express, they will not be honoring the existing interest rate after an account is closed. They are upping the interest on pre-existing amounts, even if you close your account. SO for American Express, "opting out" is not the same as canceling the card because you can't opt out of the interest rate increase, whether you keep or cancel the card.
Posted by TGT101 on 2008-12-04:
Read the fine print most the time it says that in opting out of any change you hereby cancel your card with .
Posted by greedbynoothername on 2008-12-05:
I read the fine print. You can cancel you card or "opt out" but they are still raising your interest rates at AM Ex (unlike other cards who don't raise your interest rate on outstanding balances when you opt out). I'm in the rather good credit category so mine was at 7.99% for a blue card before the November notification. On December 1, they raised my interest rate to 10.99%. I, like other commentors, have never had a late payment in my life with a credit score over 750. I carry a balance on this card because I put my college fees on it and am paying off over time so the inability to freeze the interest rate impacts me. This is just a really greedy company.
Posted by Credit-Card-Dude on 2009-01-30:
FYI, for unknown reasons, the House has taken down the individual testimonies of the witnesses, so the link to Sharnak's testimony no longer works. However, the transcript of the hearing is available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_house_hearings&docid=f:42721.pdf The quoted section of Sharnak's testimony is on the 70th page of the .pdf.
Posted by Ray Sieger on 2013-11-13:
Around the end of Oct 2013, I got a letter from American Express saying that they were lowering my credit line on my card from $21,000.00 to $1,000.00. I have been with them since 1996 and I have never had a late payment. I have paid them untold thousands of dollars. I owed nothing on the card. I had been paying it off every month. I called them and talked to someone in the Philippines who just read from a piece of paper and told me my debt ratio on my credit was high and I had inquiries. I tried to explain that we had bought a large house a few months ago and bought furniture, etc, so of course my credit showed it but we have never had a late payment on anything. This person just kept reading from a piece of paper and wasn’t listening to me. I called back the next day thinking that I could talk to someone that would make some sense but the next person just kept reading from the same paper so I got frustrated and just told them to cancel the card and I cut it up. I was still annoyed with this a few days later since this wasn’t the way to treat a valued customer with a perfect record, so I called again and asked to speak to a supervisor. I told her, why don’t you just put a hold on the card instead of penalizing me. I don’t really need to use it. She ignored me and said that she will put in a request to re-instate the card but I would get a letter and need to submit more information in order to get my credit line back. I asked her if re-instating the card would put another inquiry on my credit and she said no. A few days later I got a letter from AMEX and they wanted proof of income that included W2 form, personal tax returns, bank statements (checking, savings, certificates of deposit, personal financial statement, brokerage accounts, etc. That is unbelievable and also a bit of an invasion of our privacy. I was actually going to give in to this and start gathering the information and then I got another letter stating that they checked my credit and I couldn’t get the card back. It looked like a letter a person would get when they applied for a card for the first time. This also now put another inquiry on my credit report which the lady said they wouldn’t do. The irony here is that they based a lot of this on my debt ratio and buy destroying 2 of my credit lines, they actually made it worse. I say 2 credit lines because they did the same thing on my wife’s AMEX card. Also, looks like they put another inquiry on my credit. They were no other card companies that did this. Only American Express. My credit score was on its way back up since we bought the house. My score was back into the 700 range. I have been monitoring it. Now it is going back down because of this incident. They need to make up the damage they have done to our credit. Give us back our credit lines and if they don’t want us to use the card, then that would be fine. Don’t damage people with a perfect payment record. We are not the bad guys. I have supported them for 18 years and this is the reward.
Posted by Metoo on 2013-12-03:
I had the same experience. Paid on time, and Am/Ex cut my limit from $20K to $200.00 above my balance. I don't use the card much
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StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Bogus Bonus
Posted by on 05/16/2012
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Many Credit Card companies issue rewards. Instead of points or miles or widgets some CC companies offer rebates or cash rewards. These programs have rules; some are like a game show. If you do X or buy Y you go to the "Bonus Board" for more rewards.

AmEX Blue Cash offers you a reward level (1% or. 5%) on your initial purchases (depending on the category of the purchase). After you achieve a certain threshold of spending in a given fiscal year ($6,500) you get a HIGHER reward level up to 5%, again depending on the category of the purchase. SIMPLE.

Everyone achieves the threshold at a different time. Most likely it will occur mid-purchasing cycle.

It is clear that I surpassed the required spend on or about Feb 1st 2012, right in the middle of a billing cycle. AmEx was inconsistent in applying the higher bonus on the charges later in that month. Some yes, some no; EVEN charges recorded on the same day were handled inconsistently.

IMPACT: In each of 4 categories (Gas, Drugstore, Grocery and Other) I had qualifying charges that did NOT receive the "promised" bonus. In dollars, it was only about an $8 error.

ISSUE: Customer Service understood my concern and initiated an INQUIRY. After about a month I received a "boilerplate" response about the monthly rewards and how they were issued one statement cycle in arrears. They spent almost $8 on postage alone for a worthless report.

When I expressed my frustration about the lack of substance I was escalated to a Supervisor. The Supervisor called me 2 days later and said:
1) she was disappointed in the poor report
2) the case had been "closed"
3) I would be issued a $10 credit.

CLASS ACTION: What about ALL the other AmEx users who are being "shorted" $8 ??? I would want a piece of that action!


     
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Posted by KevinTX on 2012-05-16:
Nice review. Well-written. Glad you got results and I agree with your conclusion. Unfortunately companies DO get away with stuff like this. I see it all the time (not against me of course). A well-educated consumer is the only one to come out ahead... you already know the flip-side to this... not everyone is as 'edumacated' and thus, companies profit from ignorance... pretty smart if you ask me :) (downright nasty, but smart).
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-05-16:
The way I read this, you *got* in on the action. Therefore you may not be eligible for anything further.

Is it the case that in subsequent months you received the full bonus points you were entitled to?

I guess I have a laid back approach to this, even though the CC bank may be getting one over on me. I would be using my CC regardless of bonuses, so if they give me something I'm really happy. It does sound like they did not credit you the full points to which you were entitled.
Posted by User on 2012-08-20:
Amex will not issue a rewards credit unless you have an even multiple of $25.00. You will always be chasing that amount and never get you $. I just canceled my Blue Cash card. The cash rewards balance was $97.50. Amex would only send me a check for $75.00!! I told the girl to buy herself lunch with the remaining balance.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
American Express / Bad Business
Posted by Jalexander777 on 03/02/2012
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS -- Like many others, I too have been exposed to this American Express "rip-off." It all started when I was making reservations on Jet Blue Airlines.
At the end of my conversation they offered me "free" 10,ooo air-mileage any where Jet Blue flies if I applied for the card. So I did, and within minutes "SHAZAMMMMM" I was approved for $5,000 credit limit.
While I was on my trip (Vegas), I used all but about $700.00 of the $5,000,well I guess AX didn't like that and they cancelled my card, because, their words.......... They receive "monthly" up dates from "experian credit reporting agency" and that my credit score profile had fallen below their acceptable limit. Never-mind, the fact that I was paying my monthly payment (actually over-paying)with no late payments.

Now I am paying on a cancelled credit card and AX entry into Experian has given me my first and only "negative" entry on my credit profile.

If you been ripped off, and from the entries I have read, their are a lot of us out there.......... Let not get mad......When we can get even!!!!!!!!!!!

Let's use our "social-networking channels" and get the word out about AX and their questionable business practices >>>>>>>>>>>>>> YOUR APPROVED........SORRY, YOUR CANCELLED!

The fact that this company got a government bail-out of almost 3.4 Billion dollars is insulting.

Someone with some "clout" should investigate this company.

See you on Face Book, twitter, etc.
     
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Posted by Skye on 2012-03-02:
You can get your own investigation started, by contacting your state attorney generals office. No clout needed.

https://www.oag.state.tx.us/
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