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AMEX Setting Credit Limits - Alienating Customers
Posted by ORFisherman on 07/09/2008
I am a 12 year customer of the gold card. I have a perfect payment history and have never had a problem…. until this year. AMEX has started a new policy of averaging your usage for the last 3 months, evaluating your credit score on a monthly basis (a score by the way you cannot obtain without a fee), and then setting limits on your spending. This is whether you have a perfect payment history or not. By doing this, they limit their exposure to risk in the declining economy (in their opinion), however they also alienate perfectly good customers that have been only sporadically using the card and may have recently incurred more debt (like a new car or new house).

This is a ridiculous policy and the idiot that came up with it should be fired. Not to mention, I hope someone in the Govt realizes the unfair practice of using a score to decline credit, a score which the consumer has to pay to see. I have seen my “no limits” spending feature dropped from “unlimited” to $21K, to $8K. This is because when they pissed me off the first time by changing from “no-limit” to a $21K limit, I stopped using the card for business travel. Then, as I did use it sporadically, they lowered the limit again because my “average” usage was low. How stupid is that?

My recommendation, pass the word along and have everyone you speak to complain. Call them and complain, write them and complain, email them and complain…and…stop using the card! If their usage drops and their complaints rise….someone in AMEX Corporate will get wind of it and hopefully fire the idiot that started the new policy.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-09:
If you're not using it, why do you care what the limit is? They are giving you a positive bump in your credit score by lowering your exposure, so that's not a bad thing. Having a high line merely for the sake of having it doesn't make much sense.
By the way, everyone is entitled to free annual credit reports from the big three reporting agencies. Further, if you are denied credit because of your score, you are also entitled to see the report.
Posted by Slimjim on 2008-07-09:
If you want the limit to be higher, simply start using it more. It's based on average use per your complaint. As Ken said, if you don't want to do that, then you really have no use for a higher credit limit and have essentially help yourself in the area of lowing your "potential" debt to income ratio.
Posted by forcomplaintsonly on 2008-07-09:
If you are not using it, why worry about it, having a high line of credit can put you at risk even greater if your card is stolen. if you dont like it, then start using it more, make multiple small purchases at the same store, rather than one large purchase, that way it makes it look like you are using it a lot, they do go by "$", but also go by how many times it is used too.
Posted by Robyo on 2008-07-28:
Your comments are bullcrap. Just because someone doesnt use their card doesnt mean they dont have the ABILITY to pay the balance based on income or past history of the ability to pay a high balance. AMEX is starting a trend to take them into receivership. MBNA was the last one I watched take this type of attitude....NOW MY BANK OWNS THEM...LOL. We shall see how long they can stay in the BLACK. SCREW AMEX BY NOW USING THEIR CARDS.
Posted by avidfoodie on 2008-08-09:
i believe you. It happen to me, they decreased my credit line to $3k. today. I have charges from $2k to 15k a month because I put all my Biz expense on it. When I get an expense check, I pay it off. This is bull crap. I alway pay my amex card. i think this is happening more and more because they just got downgraded. Using my amex has nothing to do with my other card, nor how much i make.
Posted by avidfoodie on 2008-08-09:
It happen to me, they decreased my credit line to $3k. today. I have charges from $2k to 15k a month because I put all my Biz expense on it. When I get an expense check, I pay it off. This is bull crap. I alway pay my amex card. i think this is happening more and more because they just got downgraded. Using my amex has nothing to do with my other card, nor how much i make.
Posted by GBDMD on 2009-02-24:
Several of you completely miss the point. AMEX is penalizing and alienating completely good customers. I had two platinum cards and one blue card. AMEX put limits on the platinum cards, which were CHARGE cards, not credit cards, so my balances were paid in full every month, sometimes in excess of 10K and 20K. They dumbed down my blue card to the point where it was unusable (150 dollar limit). The more I used my platinum cards, the more they kept lowering the limit. Again - these are CHARGE cards where the balances were paid in full, on time, every time, every month. I just didn't get it. I canceled all three cards. They set a spending limit on one of my platinum cards to less than the annual fee of $450. How completely stupid is it for a company to say, "Pay me a $450 membership fee, but I'll only let you use it for $250 in charges". Membership did not have it's privileges. 20 year customer - never late, never delinquent - all bills paid in full, on time, every time, every month, without fail.

I now have a VISA BLACK card with no problems and I've been forced to use my forever disappearing Diner's Club card.

This isn't about AMEX limiting its liability and exposure. AMEX is alienating PERFECTLY GOOD customers.
Posted by old fart on 2009-02-24:
I just saw on the national news where AMEX is actually PAYING people to cancel their AMEX card... giving them $300 per card to selected customers just to go away quietly... no insanity there huh?
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-02-24:
We won't hear from THOSE customers! :)
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Amex Lowered My Limit Too
Posted by Drdanny on 12/31/2008
HAWAII -- On 12-31-08 I put in an order to the same vendor I have used for some time asking them to put it on my American Express Gold Card on file. I was called back saying it was declined. So I call Amex thinking they had made a mistake or didn't receive my last payment for some reason. I was informed my limit had been lowered to $1600, (which coincidentally was what was owed on the next months billing). Got the same run around I have been reading on this review site etc. etc. My business with Amex will be ending, as I've seen many are doing on this site. However, I would like to make a suggestion as to what I plan to do. Don't cancel your card, use it once a month for 20-100 dollars. They will still have to send you statements (request mailing not online) do the paper work, for literally no return (2% from the merchant) which brings me to my next plan. I have a small business ($400,000 annual revenues) that as of today no longer accepts American Express. They aren't getting revenue through my store.

This is my first review but I will be posting all I can to as many places as I can; please help me pass the word.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-01:
I am glad that you are cancelling your merchant agreement with AMEX. I disagree with keeping the account open. Regardless of what percentage of a return they get I don't want to waste my time with a company who thinks so little of their customer. I severed my ties...I am done. I do not want to be associated with this company at all anymore. I do not want their card in my wallet, I do not want to see their billing statement in my mailbox again... I do not ever want to hear their BS story telling me what a valued customer I am, as they have so many times before, after they've shown they do not value my business at all.
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Someone help me!! Help me fight American Express
Posted by Jesusucsb on 02/12/2011
I need some advice. I was approved for an American Express Gold Card, whicb made me preety happy. Today I'm furious!
When I first got the card I called customer service to learn about benefits. I was told " you have to pay full bill each month." then I inquired about Travel and the guy said "oh yes you actually have a plan called Sign and Travel which allows you to book travel and pay it in payments. Last week I called to get my payment amounts and I was told " oh yeah Mr. Ruiz you definitely have the plan, but the bill hasn't posted call after Feb. 8th.

I called Feb 8th and they screwed me! " I'm sorry sir you don't qualify for this plan, you have to pay 650 dollars by Feb 21" I screamed! I was so upset. I told her check the notes! I asked one of the reps to put notes reflecting that I called and that I was told I had the plan.
They said " I'm sorry you were told misinformation and while I believe yiu were misled, YOU MUST PAY FULL BAlANCE. I made a few calls and sent some emails and they won't budge. These sharks!! What can I do!?

Tony Ruiz
S4delta@Yahoo. com
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Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-12:
What can you do?

1. Spend more time researching these companies on websites such as this one.

2. Read their customer agreement BEFORE signing up.

3. NEVER rely on anything you are told on the phone by a customer service representative. They will invariably deny everything.

EDUCATION is what you get when you read the fine print.
EXPERIENCE is what you get when you don't.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-02-12:
Use another credit card to pay this AE card off in full. (Take a cash withdrawal, if you need to.)

Remember: If you don't have it in actual writing, it ain't true.
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
Thanks, but they even admitted "we see the notes, we believe you were given misinformation. But sorry. You still need to pay full amount or we cancel card and take you to collections."
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2011-02-12:
With all due respect Toto, I would never advise someone to take cas withdrawals from a credit card. The fees on cash withdrawls are sometimes triple that of a purchase and it is always the last thing a payment will go towards. All payments will go towards whatever purchases are on the card BEFORE it even touches on the cash advantances which will just keep adding up the fees at the high rates. I learned my lesson fast with it came to cash withdrawls on credit cards.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-02-12:
Hey, the OP was asking for help on paying a credit card balance in full. Can you think of another, logical place a person can get $650 to pay a debt like that? Every sane person knows not to take a cash withdrawal from a CC, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do....
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-02-12:
I would pay it off, and cut up the card. Screw em.
Posted by CrystalSword on 2011-02-12:
And my family wonders why I don't have major credit cards!!
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-12:
The trick is knowing how they work and making them work for you. NOT you working for them.

Use it to pay for things you may need a recourse on. Pay the bill in full every month. They CAN work for you.
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
Please tell me. Can I sew? I know about the rules and regulations. But they have admitted thAt I was misled.. You would think. They would say "ok we will let you make payments."
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-12:
No, there is no basis for a suit here. Even though they admitted verbally they misled you they will deny it in front of a judge. As Toto indicated, if it ain't in writing it don't exist.

Besides, they will stand behind the corporate "contract". No employee can modify it verbally or in writing.
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
Nooooooo. You dont undersand. I have it in an email. I have an email from AMeX. A person says "im sorry you were given misinformation" its an email. I do have proof.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-12:
You can try but as I said they will stand behind the corporate "contract". No employee can modify it verbally or in writing. You can probably find a statement to that effect in the agreement.
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
Thanks sir.. Im an Army Vet. Glad to see i served and fought for pieces of garbage. Ok thanks everyone.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-02-12:
Sue? For what? At the end of the day, you still owe the money, whether you owe it right now or later (with interest). How much money do yo think an attorney will charge you? Just pay the bill, and don't throw your vet status into the mix. You didn't serve your country so you can sue companies who lent you money.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-12:
I just looked at the Gold Card agreement and it looks like you should have been able to make payments. There must be something one of us has missed.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-02-12:
My partner has the AE Optima card. We love it.
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
What? Really? Can you please give me a link...
And please im not conplaining. i want to pay bill. But when im threatened with "you must pay in full by Feb 21 or we cancel your card and go to collections, thats not fair.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-12:
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
Thanks Sir!!!!!!!! ;)
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
Chuck what pae did you see it at, where it says YOU CAN MAKE PAYMENTS?
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-02-12:
Page 3 of the PDF seems relevant to your situation ("About Pay Over Time features").

What's most important is not this PDF, but the specific information they provided to you when you opened the account.

Notable: "If you enroll in Sign & Travel, we will automatically place eligible travel-related charges into a Pay Over Time balance." (Note the word "eligible.")

"A charge is eligible if it equals or is more than a certain dollar amount. We will tell you this amount when you enroll, and it is subject to change."
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-12:
I saw a reference to "minimum payments" and assumed that it operated as a typical credit card. Upon CLOSER examination I saw that only certain transactions MAY qualify for payments. But, as you found out already, it DOES state the entire new balance is due upon receipt of the statement.

Unfortunately they've gotcha. Pay 'em off and be done with 'em.
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
Right, but they are telling me "You were never eligible" Thats where the whole misled thing started. I was told Yes you have this program. Now they say, I never had it
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
No, I told them "Im not paying you whole amount. Im paying you half this month half next month, You lied to me. So this is what I will do... I told them to go pound sand.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-12:
Well, they have shown their true colors. If I were you I would have nothing to do with American Express after this.

If you will read some of the reviews on this site you will find that American Express has spit on many of their customers.
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:

Response (Karan Singh Matharu) 02/12/2011 12:44 AM
Dear Jesus Tony Ruiz,

Thank you for taking your valuable time to email us.

I truly understand your concern regarding this matter. It is certainly disappointing that a Valued Cardmember like you did not receive a level of service that you truly deserve.

Please be assured that I have shared this information with the concerned department, so that they may look into this issue.

I have checked your card account and see that currently it is not enrolled in flexible payment option (Select and Pay Later). Enrollment in flexible payment option is by invitation only. Card accounts are reviewed regularly and invitations are sent as per policies and procedures.

Therefore, in order to assist you with this issue, I kindly ask you to contact our Account Services at (800) 842-5303 (24 hours a day - 7 days a week). From overseas, please call collect at (336) 393-1111.

I would like to assure you that when you contact our Account Services Department regarding your concerns, they will not only provide you with the required information but will also take appropriate actions to provide a satisfactory resolution to you

For your convenience, I wish to inform you that your American Express Gold card is a charge card. Therefore, the ‘Please-Pay-By’ Date (February 21,2011) on your statement is a reminder date. As long as we receive your full payment by the next billing date (March 09,2011), your account will be considered current.

We look forward to hearing from you and always consider it our privilege to be of service.

Sincerely, Karan Singh Matharu Email Servicing Team American Express Interactive Services
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-02-12:
If you pay half now and half later, what are they going to do? Probably nothing, but hit you with a big fee. As long as you are paying something, I doubt they will "turn you in."

It looks like AE allows "Pay Over Time" for travel expenses on a case-by-case basis. You weren't misled per se, you just misunderstood.

"Select & Pay Later lets you pay a charge over time in two ways. You may ask a travel industry merchant at the time you make the charge, or ask us after the charge appears on your statement. If we approve your request, we will place the charge into a Pay Over Time balance. If we decline your request, you must pay the charge in
full upon receipt of your billing statement."
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-12:
Looks like a canned response with zero sincerity and no acknowledgment of your issue whatsoever. Just a "pay us or die" attitude.
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
I was misled I was told "Yes! You have this plan, Just book the flight.. "

I was never told that it needed to be approved.
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
Response (Joy Blanchett) 02/10/2011 08:55 PM
Hello Tony Ruiz,

I contacted Customer Service on your behalf and received the following response:

I am really sorry for the wrong information provided to you regarding the Sign and Travel option. I understand that you are upset because of this. I have forwarded a feedback to the concerned department. Please know it will be shared.

Regrettably, I see that your account is not yet eligible for the Pay over Time feature. If you would like to speak to someone regarding this matter, please contact our Account Services Department at (800) 921-6490 (24 hours/7 days).

I am sorry that we cannot assist you with this inquiry via email.

Sincerely, Joy Blanchett Email Servicing Team American Express Interactive Services


Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
AS you can see, they admit I was given misinformation.... But still PAY US...
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-02-12:
Is not an American Express Gold Card a *charge* card, and not a credit card? In other words you have to (and always have had to) pay it off each month?

I have to believe this is stated in the disclosure, and thus if I thought that I had a deal that allowed "pay over time" I would check darned carefully before going for it. The card terms are what rule.

I would put my effort into figuring out how to pay it off ASAP and avoid collections, not trying to file a lawsuit against them.
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
TRMN, Do you not read... I was told by the Customer Service people... "YOU HAVE THE PAY OVER TIME FEATURE!!! " Do you not realise this..
I was lied to.. And in the email I have, they admit to such.. This is the point.
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-02-12:
Go ahead then, file a lawsuit. Good luck.

My point is that it makes no sense to be able to pay anything over time with a card that must be paid off each month, if in fact those are a Gold card's rules.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-12:
What did they say when you told them half now and half next month?
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
The lady said "again, I apologise for being deceived, I would be mad too, I will make a note that you won't be paying in full...."

Thats all...
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-12:
Please come back and tell us what happens on the next billing statement. My guess is they will ad a late fee of $35.
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
trmn, Again, do you not read? They have a plan called "SIGN AND TRAVEL" Which I was told "Yes, You have this plan!" which allows you to make a large purchase, i.e. travel and make payments. This is not getting gas at an Arco! And then they told me, "You never had the plan"

Get it?
Posted by jesusucsb on 2011-02-12:
I just hope that I dont get collections calls, thats my only worry.....
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-02-12:
It turns out I can't read. Whatever you said - it must be right. That business about a Gold card always having to have been paid each month, since they started in 1986, I take that back. I don't know what I was thinking. {hits self}
Posted by Slimjim on 2011-02-12:
I don't blame the poster one bit for being upset and he/she has every right to. I doesn't matter what the gold card generally has for a pay back scenario, and it doesn't matter whether he/she bothered to "read the fine print", AMEX is totally at fault here. They should know quite well what terms they gave this poster and what they didn't. They told him/her there was time payments, the poster made a purchase based on that, then AMEX said nope sorry, we were wrong and need full payment. How can that at all be debated as if the poster was in the wrong or didn't perform enough due-diligence?
Posted by Sassy2 on 2011-02-13:
You could ask Amex if you can take this matter to arbitration? If not I'd get another card and pay them off they are not worth your time and certainly do not deserve any more of your money.Good Luck
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Cancellation of American Express Gold Card without Notice
Posted by Grubie on 11/22/2010
EL PASO, TEXAS -- I have been a loyal American Express Gold card member for 25 years. I have paid my bill in full and on time every month. I have paid their ridiculous annual fee without hesitation, and how am I rewarded? They cancel my card without notice and without explanation! I went to use my card on Saturday and was denied only to find an email and a voice mail message from them, dated that same day, stating they have decided to cancel my card. There was no advanced notice, there was no explanation, it was if they just flipped a switch. In addition, I believe this action and misconduct of power, makes them in violation of the Consumer Credit Card Protection Act. I am so disappointed with the way that American Express has conducted business, when I called their customer service to inquire about the card cancellation, the representative was rude and incompetent. She could not answer my questions and stammered/stuttered when questioned.

I don't need American Express, but they do need me and others like me. We are the ones that have built their company, their success and have allowed them to grow. I am appalled at their business practice and from the searches I have seen online I am not alone.

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Posted by Fufu487 on 2010-11-22:
umm not misconduct, or abuse of power. It's unfortunate they did so, and bad for business but completely within the rights of the card agreement to cancel an account at any time without notification. That call was actually a courtesy. Still, bad for their business.
Posted by Grubie on 2010-11-22:
I have just been researching cancellation policies of card issuers and according to an article written in the Wall Street Journal "if an issuer cancels an account due to customer inactivity, default or delinquency, notification to the card holder isn't required this according to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. However, an issuer is required to notify consumers about an account closure if the issuer terminates it based on other factors, such as information from a consumer's credit report". As I don't fit the criteria for either scenario, I am still perplexed by this whole situation and angry about American Express business practice, whether it is in their rights or not. The article goes on to say that in the latter cases," written notification is provided within 30 days, not necessarily prior to, the account's being closed". I still think it is bad business for card issuers.
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Cancellation of Sign and Travel
Posted by Lostwithamex on 10/04/2010
Last year, without notice, AMEX took away our ability to carry any balances over on two of our AMEX Cards. They must be paid in full monthly. We are a small company (we charge about $1 million yearly) and we used to pay approximately $10,000 a year in interest to AMEX. Now we pay none. Since we are tiny fish in the pond, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that AMEX must be losing millions overall in the interest that it doesn’t need anymore. Apparently, all they need is the government and not their customers since that is clearly what they are telling us.

At the same time, they are reducing our credit limit about every six months. I appreciate AMEX helping us phase them out of our business, showing us that we don’t need them. My only question is that if AMEX doesn’t need us, why does the government feel the need to keep helping them?

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American Express Credit Cards Suck!
Posted by JESS90069 on 06/28/2010
AMEX card
AMEX card
A while back I got a few days behind on my AMEX Gold Card, which I had had for 20+ years. One of their rude representatives, from some unknown foreign land said my account was being closed for NON PAYMENT! I was NOT given the opportunity to go online and pay immediately.

I thought Oh Well! AMEX has lost my business, no big deal. Much to my surprise they went a step further and canceled my Platinum Card as well, which was NOT in arrears!

THEN they sold the 'collection' to several collection agencies, and of course my great credit score plummeted.

BUT I will get the last laugh! Every other person in our company stopped using their AMEX accounts for anything! and as the renewal comes up, the accounts or being closed! I am the Managing Parter, so guess who signs off on credit card payments!!!!

PLUS our business happens to be in an industry that sells American Express products! NOT ONE has been sold since the scenario started.

PLUS our business has stopped accepting AMEX cards for payment, unless the client has no other alternative. Our acceptance has dropped 95%

AMEX may have 'won the battle' but we have 'won the war'.

My credit score will rebuild, not too worried about that.

We just focus on Visa and Mastercards now.

Really do not want to hear from them, but feel better writing this note!

I learned that American Express does not value their long term card holders. I have heard this same story at Rotary and Chamber meetings from lots of other business owners!

American Express has now offered us to pay as low as 25% of the original amounts. BUT the damage has been done at the credit bureaus and they cannot reverse that!

The slime also took away many years of 'points' we had built up on both cards! American Express sucks!
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Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-06-29:
Interesting post. You gotta admit. VH
Posted by JESS90069 on 2010-06-29:
Based on all of the other similar complaints I read after posting mine, I feel totally justified about saying "American Express sucks" in my opinion. For those who have not yet encountered the wrath of American Express and their illiterate foreign [India and the Philippines] telephone agents, who are RUDE RUDE RUDE, "Caveat venditor". AMEX and frankly any other American company should employ people in the USA! One airline with whom we do business closed their India operations after so many complains from clients. I/We can live without an American Express card! For sure!
Posted by Slimjim on 2010-06-29:
You stopped paying them becuase they closed your accounts for being late. While I can understand frustration and disappointment if your weren't that late at the time, bring up what they did to your credit and sending you to collection agencies like that wasn't something they shouldn't have done either, doesn't make much sense coming from a businessman.
Posted by Slimjim on 2010-06-29:
Wow, could I have made any more grammatical mistakes with that last post? Need coffee..
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-06-29:
i still do not see legal justification for refusing to pay bills.

regardless of your feelings on the matter, laws are still the same.
if you borrowed the money from them you owe it back.

and for a business-person i find it interesting that you are advocating not paying bills if you're mad at the company.
because then it means that none of the people who owe you money have to pay either if they say they're mad at you.

Posted by SAX on 2012-10-02:
Used to work for them.....will never refer anyone/client to them. The absolute worse. Their attitude is "do as we tell you or go somewhere else" Actually got to express my dissatisfaction with how the company is going with a family member and the way she was treating the employee at the store. Didn't care. Major attitude issues with Amex anymore.
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Amex USED to be good. Those days are gone
Posted by Scottk1969 on 04/18/2010
I've used Amex for YEARS for purchases. I spent approximately $500,000 per year as I used my card for business purchases and have been doing so since 2003. My purchasing follows a very specific pattern. I spend large amounts in February -> June and it tapers down after that, until the next February -> June.

For years everything was fine and their customer service was top notch. In 2008 something changed radically. Different departments could no longer communicate and it seemed as if Amex had divided into dozens of separate companies, none of which had any control over your account.

Ultimately, in 2009 I followed my normal spending pattern, only to have the card stop working on day. I called and was told, "You need to pay $10,000 on this card immediately or we can't allow you spend more (nothing was due at the time." I asked the rep, "if I make this payment, I can spend $10,000, right?" and was ASSURED that was the case. So I made the payment.

I spent about $3,000 more and the card was cut off again. I was then told there was nothing they could do and unless I paid another $10,000 immediately (still nothing was DUE) they wouldn't allow me to use the card. They told me the other representative must have made a mistake when they told me I would have $10,000 to spend. I promptly told them where to stick it.

I spent the next several weeks burning through nearly 1 million rewards points. Paid the card in full and told them to close all my accounts with Amex, as I wish never to do business with their company again.

Today I receive a phone call about an account that should have been closed. They were "reducing my credit line". LOL.

So I closed that account, that should have been closed last year and I am glad they reminded that I still needed to write this review to warn people not to do business with American Express.
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Ruining My Life
Posted by Ljohns on 01/30/2010
I opened my American express card account in 1993. I loved this card. It was useful in emergency or when I was low on cash. I had a large sign and travel balance, which I paid along with my regular charges on time until May 2009. I was victim of identity theft. The negative accounts on my credit reports caused my credit card limits to be reduced on most of credit cards as well as my minimum payments doubled on these cards. I informed the credit companies and they refused to reduce my APR or monthly payments. It took nine months to get all the negative fraudulent information off of my credit report. BUT, none of the credit companies would reverse the APRs or minimum payments. So, I was using the AMEX card to meet my expenses. I realized that now my AMEX card monthly payment was too high for me to pay. I contacted AMEX and advised I was starting to have problems meeting my payment. They advised me to look into their debt management program. In the meantime, I enrolled into the Consumer Credit debt management program (June 2009) this was the only way I could reduce the payments and APRs on my credit accounts. The downside was that I had to close all my accounts. I called AMEX and asked if they participated in this program and was told yes, but I had to make 3 payments to them before they would accept me on this program. I was accepted in July 2009 or August 2009. I continued to get bills that said I was past due on my payments; eventhough my payment history showed that I was paying every month on time. I would call the "customer service number and be told to ignore my statements, because my account was in good standing. AND, the statements would be corrected eventually. BUT, AMEX started to report my account as past due. This lowered my credit score AND put the 1st negative strike on my credit history which I began over 20 years ago. After 3 days of calling every number I was told to call, I find out that I should have been told in May 2009, that I needed to pay all the outstanding payment "DUE" and if I did not pay it, I would be sent to collections. AND, I found out that the AMEX "debt management Division" doesn't have access to the AMEX "customer service" division information AND although my debt management account is current, I still must pay them $1000 and pay off amount due AND the AMEX Credit reporting division is an entity on to themselves and I must resolve all issues with them (RUDE PEOPLE?NO HELP AT ALL) In December, 2009, they did stop charging me late fees, and they did change my credit report to "collection" instead of "In collection. BUT, today I get a credit alert that AMEX has now stated that my account has been sent for collections and I paid the $983.00 earlier this month.
NOW, I am going to have to spend days calling and writing to AMEX again AND I need to move, but this is going to have my rental applications rejecting. WORST COMPANY EVER!!!!!!!!!!
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Posted by let me see? on 2010-01-31:
HUH? When you say you were the victim of identity theft, did they run up you AMEX card and other credit cards? If that is true you would not be responsible for any of those charges. And how did your monthly bill get so high you couldn't pay it? It sounds like you were using AMEX to meet your expenses, but were not paying the bill. All credit card companies are very aware of identity theft and know how to deal with it. It sounds like you couldn't pay the bill and can't believer AMEX is actually wanting the money you owe them.
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Request for Tax Return
Posted by PaulGervasio on 12/18/2009
I have been an AMEX gold card member for about 2 yrs now with an 810 credit score and apparently due to my Christmas chopping they are requesting my tax returns to verify my income to see if I am credit worthy to have their credit cards! OH MY GOD! I was really furious absolutely appalled by this! I thought that the existence of my credit file was what credit cards company took into consideration before giving me a card! I am so not releasing that info to them and they say they are going to cancel my card. I spoke to this rude Hispanic guy with the worst accent ever and I could barely understand what he was saying. He pretty much went down the list telling me that with all my recent purchases, and he read one by one in a sarcastic way, telling me that my income level didn’t match the amount of expense I had. My bill is due on the 5th of January and I paid in full today ($5,000) and I am just going to wait for them to make a decision. Aside for the exorbitant 150 annual fee they still want super sensitive info from me. My friends and family warned me about this card but I thought it would be a good card to have but I am sure going to tell AMEX TO SUCK IT!
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Posted by andbran on 2009-12-18:
that is pretty bizarre. if you make your payments on time i dont see what their problem is. so i would say tell them to suck it.
Posted by madconsumer on 2009-12-18:
amex is protecting themselves. they want to make sure your income matches your spending. this is to prevent money laundering, and other illegal activites.

if you are 'protecting' your tax returns, then what are you hiding?
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2009-12-18:
Excellent decision, Paul. They were going WAY beyond a need to know.
Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-12-18:
I don't think this is to prevent money laundering because payments to American Express are already in the bank system, not made in cash. Obviously, they would question someone who normally charges $1,000.00 per month on the card suddenly charging $20,000, perhaps in a last ditch attempt to max out being going bankrupt, leaving country, etc. But a discussion of the purchases or request for early payment, should be the most AmEx does.

Asking for tax returns is way over the limit of what is approprite.
Posted by madconsumer on 2009-12-18:
how else can amex verify the card holders employment without tax returns??
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-18:
I would think they would ask for paystubs, etc. NOT tax returns. I agree, very odd.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-18:
I don't understand why people get so riled about this stuff. If Amex is going to front someone thousands of $$, they have the right to request some proof of income. It's just business. There are plenty of issuers that don't require this proof--the OP would be happier with one of them.
Posted by Nohandle on 2009-12-18:
It's not the least bit unusual for a CC company to question out of the norm expenses. Most times it's my understanding it is if someone is in another country. I never could understand how they thought someone could answer that home telephone if they were gone, but that's neither here nor there.

Checking someone's credit is a given. Requesting he provide a copy of his income tax return on an established, and I gather current, account is a new one on me. Better gather up your income tax returns from last year because I have a feeling this might become a requirement for many. I personally wouldn't provide a copy, but that's just me.
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-12-18:
how did they contact you?

just wondering if it's really american express who was calling you
Posted by PaulGervasio on 2009-12-19:
you know what happened, I called about an unusual charge to my card and then they started to question me. Madconsumer said that if I have nothing to hide about my income then I should just provide them with my tax returns but that’s not just that. The form that they want me to fax back to them allows them to have access to my tax returns from 3 years back, bank account numbers and I am so not going to provide no credit card company with such sensible info. I really use the card in order to get the points and in fact they provide you with a lot of benefits I can’t deny that but I think its ABSOLUTELY ridiculous for them to want to get my tax returns. From now on I am just going to use my debit card as I have been in the past. I don’t think is ever acceptable for them to ask me for such information and like I have said before it is absolutely completely ridiculous. I did talk to the stupid Hispanic guy’s supervisors and they apologized and I made sure I mentioned that they were losing a customer for their plain stupidity. They need my business to stay in business and I made sure to tell them that if this is the type of info they need from me then I have no interest in doing business with them. I have already closed the stupid account and never again am I ever going to get an AMEX card. I hope no one else gets to go through this.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
Why are you afraid to show them proof of income? I isn't like your tax return has any info they don't already have. Like your social. Nothing else is that important.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2009-12-19:
Paul, I admire people like you that refuse to be bullied by these large companies. More people should stand up for what is right and just.

As you have seen by some of the comments posted there are some who are willing to turn their lives and souls over to the government and corporate America. Government is already too invasive as it is.

For those of you who missed it this is about principle and the arrogance of American Express. We don't need garbage like American Express thinking they may also own your life. As I said, Paul, good decision.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
They want access to all your bank account numbers??? And tax returns three years back?! Tax returns show a LOT more than just your income and your social, especially if you itemize.

I work for a law firm that collects on delinquent taxes and other govt debt. I assure you, I learn a LOT about people when I have to comb thru tax returns when they are disputing assessments, etc. No credit card compnay needs access like that.
Posted by PaulGervasio on 2009-12-19:
many people have said that if i habe nothing to hide then why i am not providing them with my tax returns, well very very simple, i dont need to provide a CCREDIT CARD comp my tax returns in order to have a credit card from them. i could care less about amex and if they dont believe that iam going to pay the bill at the end of the month like i have been doing for the pas 2 yrs then i am no interested in their card...that simple
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
Raven, if the OP is claiming self employed, then a tax return is proof of income, which any lender has a right to ask for. And no, your tax return does not have your itemization on it. You can unstaple them from the 1099.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
Lady, a 1099 is not a tax return. And Amex is not a lender. Creditors are creditors, not lenders. There is a difference.

My last tax return included two W-2s, a 5498, and a plethora of 1099's.
Posted by *Brenda* on 2009-12-19:
Good for you! I would never give a credit card company access to my income tax returns. There are many fish in the sea!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
Duh. I meant 1040 Form. And any institution that issues credit is a lender. You are borrowing their money aren't you?
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
1040's, except for the two simple ones have itemization on them. I dont care to get into a semantics discussion on returns nor creditors vs. lenders.

They tend to be circular and pointless.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
Mine has all my item receipts stapled to it.
Posted by *Brenda* on 2009-12-19:
LadyScot you just don't get it.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
Brenda, though no one was talking to you, I do thank you for pointing out the obvious. Yes, I am missing something. As far as I know, there are 3 1040 forms. And itemizings are not done on the 1040, or not the one I use. They are printed on a separate form, which is stapled to your 1040, along with all your receipts, your exemptions, your W2, or 1099 if that is what you use.

So pardon me for trying to clarify the issue so that I can understand.What was the point of your comment anyway?

In any event, any institution that lends money or extends credit is more than justified in asking for proof ability to pay, whether that be pay stub, or tax return. AND it is perfectly legal.
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-12-20:
you are positive it was american express demanding this information from you?

i'll be honest, my first thought was that some pishing scammer had called you up to try to trick you into giving out your information...

Posted by gregstarr1 on 2010-01-11:
It would seem that Amex is on a witch hunt which could be for a couple of reasons since I received a request for a "review" recently after calling in about something else.

I have been with Amex for 25 years without any late or missed payments. I am outraged at the casual nonchalant attitude regarding a request for such sensitive information. To head off some of you at the pass, I am in the securities industry and I am highly regulated so I have nothing to hide except my complete astonishment in their quest to obtain this info.

Additionally, I pay Amex over $1000US per year in fees!!! Hwever, i do caution anyone who is reading this to refrain from giving any corporation the information that resides in anyone's personal tax return.

I believe spending habits may have a small part but more importantly, i am certain that the US Government has mandated each creditor to revisit every relationship and perform an advanced level of due diligence since the govt is telling each institution that they will not allow the American Taxpayer to bail out any company who fails to scrub their client list and manage each person's debt to income ratio.

On one hand I understand that they are within their right to request proof but to request your tax return is egregious at best.

I am still up in the air as to what I may do because I have had such a longstanding business relationship and use their services, but given the amount of fees and the disingenuous manner to obtain this info is causing me to rethink my relationship with them. I had an issue a number of years ago with Chase and I told them, STICK IT! I also shorted their stock and made some money to boot. I will tell you that i am dumping my Amex holdings because I believe that if we all make a stink, Amex will use an alternate method. I suggest you send their letter to your state Senator, Congressman, Governor, and the Secretary of Commerce and ask if this is legal.

Good luck!
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-12:
Greg, I don't think they will care. Every bank, heck every average retailer is tightening their belts. I always look at it this way: if it was MY money being loaned out, then I dang sure would make sure the person spending it could pay it back.
Posted by Leo on 2013-06-25:
I had same thing happen twice. First time I replied second time I closed both accts. Amex is expensive annually and they still want to be this difficult?? Not worth it. Ill just use all my other credit cards.
Posted by Gin on 2013-08-23:
My husband issued me a card in Dec from his account for family convenience. I just went on an 11-day road trip with my disabled son and his girlfriend to my fathers birthday party. Hubby couldn't go because of work. AmEx suspended our card, 15 days into cycle, which was fully paid, on time. We called and put the AmEx guy on speaker phone, but he didn't realize it. He told my husband that obviously, our spending habits are "a marital issue". We both looked at each other in disbelief. When my husband said he wanted the guy to talk with me, the AmEx rep was extremely rude, claiming my husband's permission was ONLY good for this ONE TIME. I replied to him and he was surprised he was on speaker phone. I asked what the problem is and he said he realized its a "marital issue", but that I had used 80% of the charges made this month. My husband explained I was on a trip. The guy didn't care demanded our IRS transcript for 2012, because afterall AMEX is ALSO a bank and had "loaned" us the money! For 30 days!!! Really!? I told him the last time we filled out a IRS tax transcript was to buy our home which was over $1mil. AMEX $5,500 loan for 30 days does not equate to the same privilege. They gave us til Sep 3 to provide info. Told them they could verify employment thru employer, check our credit reports, but we're not providing tax returns. They claim they will close the account, but it would be in our best interests to close the account ourselves. WTF!!! They don't want our business!? OK..We're DONE with them!!!
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American Express - cancels charge card accounts without warning
Posted by Bruck on 10/20/2009
NY, NEW YORK -- I was 34 days late on a payment and American express cancelled my gold card account. I have been making consistent payments since I became a member in 2005, and even made a huge payment this morning...BEFORE receiving a call from collections agency. I called American express and asked them why my account was cancelled, and they said they did not have the information in front of them BECAUSE THE ACCOUNT NO LONGER EXISTED. Any info would come from the collection agency. I asked the collection agency why my account was cancelled and they told I had to ask American express. RIDICULOUS. I am very angry with this company, due to their atrocious customer "service" (or lack thereof), and will make it my mission to convince others not to sign up for new cards and cancel existing cards with American Express. BTW AMEX....how did that federal TAX PAYER bailout work out for your company?!! When do your consumer customers get a break and/or bailout. AMEX should be ashamed. Consumer Reports will be my next site....

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Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-10-20:
Let me guess. I will take a wild stab in the dark. Maybe they canceled your card because you were more than a month late paying. That's just a hunch.

Wow. Consistent payment since 2005. That really impresses me. You have done what you agreed to do for four years and expect to get accolades for it. Where did you ever learn that you got praise for doing what you are suppose to do? p.s. AMEX cardmember since 1988 - for 21 years I paid on time every month and they never canceled my account.
Posted by BEJ on 2009-10-20:
You were 34 days late--I do not see where your outrage is coming from. They had every right to send you to collections and cancel your card. How long did you really expect them to wait for you to pay them?
Posted by Ytropious on 2009-10-20:
4 years of credit history means nothing in the grand scheme of things, and it means even less if you miss paying your bill by an entire month. So if I just don't show up for my job I've been at for 4 years it's ok because all those other 4 years I DID show up make it ok, by your logic that is. Your credit score is taking a hit twice now, once for losing history and once for a late payment.
Posted by ejack053824 on 2009-10-20:
JR in Orlando...give AMEX time....they will be serving you with an account cancellation letter soon.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-20:
American Express has been closing out accounts left and right whether people have been late or not. It is their standard operating procedure these days. They can do it and get away with it because it is in the fine print of the cardholder agreement.
Posted by Nohandle on 2009-10-20:
There was a complaint from GenuineNerd on Citibank concerning a MasterCard. It appears to be basically the same problem. No late payment in that case, just a card being cancelled with no warning at all. As I said on that particular review I'd hate to find myself out of town depending on a CC for my charges only to discover my account had been closed with no notice. I'm afraid we are going to hear more of this practice. No rhyme or reason in many cases.
Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-10-21:
Nohandle: The unfortunate part is that credit card companies have to do this without notice, otherwise there are some people who would max out their account before the date of cancellation. Once again, responsible people pay the price for those who would act otherwise.
Posted by ejack053824 on 2009-10-21:
And your absolutely right JR.
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