American Express Green Cards

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I was an American Express cardholder in good standing since 1974. In late 2006, I had a number of personal problems (Dad with severe Alzheimer's disease, Mom had a stroke, and company I worked for filed bankruptcy.) I ended up up anxiety attacks and depression and was unable to work for three months for which I had to pay COBRA insurance rates to cover my family. I had to cover a lot of costs for instrumental care for my parents. I couldn't pay my American Express amount due of $2,300 which I had charged up with airplane tickets, renting cars and hotels, etc while trying to care for my parents. I offered to pay what I could but the rude customer representative would have nothing to do with it. I did pay $300 for two months anyway and was finally able to pay the amount due in full when I returned to work - 90 days late(except for the $300 payments which accounted for nothing to Amex) American Express cancelled my card. OK, I can live with that. They continued to send me my statements and I continued to pay on the Sign and Travel portion of the card for the last three and a half years on time and often more or double the amount due gradually reducing the balance. They had originally increased my interest rate to 27%. I was able to get it reduced to 15.5% and then 9.9%.

This year, my husband and I tried to buy a townhouse and sell our large family home. We were unable to get a mortgage because of one adverse American Express report of a Collection Account to the credit bureaus.

I had never been notified that this was a Collection Account, I received no collection calls or letters. I receive my statement every month saying "Past Due amount $0, Balance: $1,800 (or whatever it is), and Amount due: $45". I continued to pay off the debt in the best way I could and on-time. The first I knew it was a Collection Account was on the credit bureau report when we applied for a loan. Since a number of other items were incorrect (including a "Collection" that didn't belong to us) on the credit reports, I thought "Collection Account" was incorrect as well.

I wrote certified letters to American Express and to the credit bureaus stating that American Express was not in collection and was being paid, but was delinquent in 2006. I was paying on time and as agreed since that time. What a nightmare trying to contact or get information from these companies. I talked to a number of very rude customer service reps from other countries whom I could not understand and would not give me information unless I purchased credit reporting packages. American Express never responded to my letters. When my mortgage was denied, I called the American Express credit bureau number again. I was rudely told, "You have called about this before, why are you calling again?" (Could it be because my future is in your hands?) When I asked why they were reporting using the derogatory term "Collection Account". I was told it was an "internal collection" and "All cancelled accounts are collection accounts, everybody knows that." Well, I didn't know that. I asked them if they could at least report the payment history so it doesn't look like I'm just not paying this bill. I was told, "American Express doesn't do that, we only report the outstanding balance" They report as "Past due since July 2006." - with no indication of my payment history.

The customer service representative at the AMEX credit bureau was extremely rude. I think she took lessons from the woman I dealt within 2006. They would do nothing to indicate that I have been paying off this card. "We can't help you. That's our policy." Even if I paid off the balance in full - the negative Collection Account notation would remain on credit report for 4 more years and I have heard that paying it off can actually lower your credit score.

I worked for a large company that got federal and state government bail-outs, filed for bankruptcy and caused thousands of employees to lose their jobs and incomes. Today, their executives are treated like wonderboys for pulling it off. Now, I am dealing with a credit card company that took TARP funds to bail themselves out. The penalty? Executives get a "verbal lashing" from Congress for their tactics in dealing with credit consumers. Yet, no one is willing to give me the tiniest break.

American Express is unwilling to honor my small request and report that my account was delinquent in 2006 but has been paid on-time and as agreed since then.

Americans should rally and protest their treatment by the credit card companies, banks and credit bureaus. Fair Issac my eye! There is NOTHING fair about these organizations.
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User Replies:
Anonymous on 07/09/2009:
It sounds like there's not a way to report the information differently.
PepperElf on 07/09/2009:
all I can suggest is write the Big Three credit reporting companies ... all three of them... and contest the charges. American express will have 30 days to reply that it's still a valid charge.

if they don't reply it has to be taken off (or so I'm told)
BokiBean on 07/09/2009:
Get physical copies of all your credit reports and contest anything that is amiss on them in writing, according to their procedures. They have a certain amount of time to will be explained on the paperwork the credit bureaus send you.

American Exp. will have to prove that the information is correct. If they can, and the credit bureau people won't take them off as a collection account, you can always have a personal statement applied to your report..a "response" to the collection item, explaining the situation and how you have the account current now.
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Disappointed as a loyal customer
Posted by on

I just wanted to express my disappointment in how AMEX treated me. I am currently an AMEX customer and have been with them for the last 11 years ! Recently because I had 2800 dollar worth of charges for the FIRST TIME in the last 10 years they started harassing me with collection calls and freezing my account based on some credit report I am sure.

Granted I don't have a 760 + credit score but my credit score is by no means bad and for them to act like that based on sheer numbers and not taking into account history on a customer is definitely not becoming of a blue chip company like American Express. I am going to pay of my balance of 350 on the card and I then have to seriously re-think who I partner within the future.

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Skye on 08/09/2010:
Did you stop paying your Amex bill? That's the only reason they would call and start collection proceedings. If you were not able to make your monthly payment, did you contact them to let them know? They've given you a line of credit for 11 years, and when you stop paying on a bill, they don't take kindly to that. You said that you have $2800.00 worth of charges on the card, and then you say you will pay your balance off of $350.00. Do you think they started calling, and collection proceedings due your credit score? I am totally confused.
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Horrible Customer Relations
Posted by on
VALLEY COTTAGE, OKLAHOMA -- I closed my account. Less than two minutes later I attempted to reopen the account when I realized there are some small changes that are billed to this account monthly. American Express customer account person was rude, mean and refused to reopen it. I was told there was no way to reopen it once it was closed even though I called back literally two minutes later. When I asked to speak with a Supervisor I was told there was no supervisor to speak with. I have been an AMEX cardholder for 21 years and have been late making a payment only 1 time in all those years. American Express also cut my credit 2 x in the past year without just cause.

I would love to sue this credit card company. Anyone out there interested in starting a class action suit?

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rudybjr on 05/23/2009:
Unfortunately they don't do things that put them in danger of being sued. It's probably in the terms and conditions that they can do that.
ejack053824 on 05/23/2009:
AMEX has been shytting in their own bed here recently. I can't wait when they have to sleep in it after the way they have been treating customers.
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Cardmember since 1998... (BS)
Posted by on
I was another relatively long-time 'member' of the AMEX family of cardholders... I say, "was", because AMEX recently canceled my account. Mea Culpa: I used my card for business travel, and often charged upwards of $6,000 - $8,000 a month. A recent divorce put me in a very challenging position, but I continued to make payments until I once went almost 30 days late. I paid-in-full, and briefly got my charging privileges back, but learned the card was no longer valid when out on a business dinner. (embarrassing to say the least!). More so, because I relied almost exclusively on AMEX.

So, after 10 years, and more than $350,000 in paid charges, I was dropped like some kind of loser. They even kept my balance of some 80,000 points to add insult to injury.

AMEX... don't need them, and never, ever, will again!
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saj80 on 10/31/2008:
While I agree, somewhat, that Amex's business decision, based on your history, doesn't make sense, did you ever call them to discuss your short-term financial position which led to the one-time late pay? I'm not 100% positive, but I would think that based on your history, if correct and true, a simple phone call might have prevented the cancellation.
connimou on 02/25/2009:
I was in a similar situation. I called American Express and told them of the problem. They stated that they would not it. I paid the amount due within 10 days of the due date. However, their representative entered the information wrong, or there was a glitch in their end because it stated that the account was wrong. They informed me of the charge back over a week later, after they had cancelled the card. I called AMEX and they stated that they would reinstate after I paid the bill, and so I did. Imagine my surprise when they then told me tha they are not reinstating cards. Looks like you can't even rely on American Express to tell you the truth let alone give you a straight answer.
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Poor service and misinformation
Posted by on
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- I have received such poor service from American express that I cannot hold back anymore. I missed 1 payment and was sent to collections. My wife and I were called multiple times per day at work, home, and cell phone. When I paid the balance AMEX would not provide me a receipt, and when asked to speak to a supervisor I was told there was not one available, I demanded to speak to one and offered to hold, then I was hung up on.

Don't believe their Hype, service is as far away as their call center.
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Alain on 08/24/2010:
Thanks for your review. I'll stick to plain old Visa.
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Bad Experience With The Credit Card
Posted by on
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- I just got this card a months ago. This month they cancelled my account and said I am no longer eligible for the card.

Then, I said OK, I have the US bank card not used for 7 months and they will be doing business with me. Which has the same benefit like the American Express.

I paid the outstanding balance and I do welcome them to cancel the card.
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