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American Express Punishes Its Customers
Posted by Edison1879 on 02/12/2013
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Simply story:

1.) 36 year customer with excellent credit
2.) $2million in charges over the years
3.) late 3 times for no more than two days in ten years
4.) Recent two day late payment earns me a penalty interest rate of 27.99% (up from 11.99%)
5.) Customer service in India says there's nothing that be done to override the "system"
6.) I threaten to payoff and close my account
7.) They respond sorry to hear that, is there anything else I can help you with?

I am canceling my three accounts and will never have anything to with AMEX or their partner companies (such as Costco).

They used to have the best customer service in the business and I was proud to be a member -- times have changed and having read other horror stories, they are shedding customers like hair on a golden retriever.

Good riddance.

     
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Posted by leet60 on 2013-02-12:
Your experience is not uncommon with the recent changes in the credit card industry. Companies rarely, if ever, provide exceptions for long term, loyal customers - they simply believe that your account is easily replaced with a new customer. As long term, existing customers often have preferred rates; replacing the account that you close due to dissatisfaction with a new customer at a higher rate is more profitable.
Posted by frak on 2013-02-12:
Didn't AE send you a letter explaining how your rate went up because you were late with your last payment, but if you aid on time for the next six months, your rate will be restored?

That's what they typically do with good customers, and that seems pretty fair to me. Kind of like a cop issuing a warning rather than a ticket.
Posted by trmn8r on 2013-02-12:
My guess is that a customer who carries a balance AND pays late, in this environment, is seen as a high risk. If you didn't carry balance, they might be more willing to forgive a late. But not repetitively. A lot of banks these days grant you one exception, and they keep a log. You come back a second time, even years later, and it's no-go.

I look at the interest alone in a different light. 11.99% interest is insanely high. 27.99% is also, but the base rate is. Thus, I would not pay either of these rates or anything in between. I use my card heavily, but always pay it off.
Posted by Churro on 2013-02-12:
I've never seen the appeal of an American Express card. I find Visa and MasterCard offerings to be far superior and definitely more widely accepted. I could be missing something but I've never had an itch that American Express could scratch. You did the right thing canceling your account. You'll have no problem finding a replacement.
Posted by janak on 2013-05-31:
I opened my AMX account @ Costco. AMX. sales representative offer me that if you open AMX. account we give you $55 reword. I am calling in customer service from last 4 months. I did not received any satisfactory answers, customer service excused all the time we file your complaint to the sales, we are not responsible for that. AMX. they live with customers and telling horrible stores. Master Card and Visa card customer service is very excellent. If It is like this i am thinking to AMX as well as Costco account.
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AMEX Blue Cash Preferred
Posted by Prezesnyc on 12/27/2012
I have applied for AMEX Blue Cash Preferred card in July 2012 through AMEX website. At that time AMEX was offering a promotion, first year annual fee waived($75)and $150 dollar points if you spent more than $1,000 in the first 3 months. This promotion was a strong contributor to my decision to apply for the new card. How surprised I was to find out after few months that apparently I did not check some box during the application process and for that reason I will not receive my bonus and I will be charged annual fee. After multiple phone calls with customer service I was simply told that I not eligible.
I wrote this to make as many people as possible aware how terrible practice AMEX is using to lure new customers, I feel very disappointed right now and I am seriously considering closing all my AMEX cards.
FYI- I have tried to post my comment on AMEX website but surprisingly the review site is under maintenance and will not be available until "early 2013". How convenient....
Please stay away from this company as they do not value their customers at all.
     
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Posted by At Your Service on 2012-12-27:
What was the reason of not being eligible? Some people have less than stellar credit and could be a contributing factor.
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Worst Customer Service EVER!!
Posted by Sphelps on 12/18/2012
These people are the biggest joke I have ever seen. I called customer service and was on hold for 20 minutes to be told they could not help me, and that I needed to call a second number. I called this number for 3 days and was either put on hold for 3 hours or hung up on.

I HATE AMERICAN EXPRESS!!!
     
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Posted by madconsumer on 2012-12-18:
what was the issue you were trying to resolve?
Posted by ok4now on 2012-12-19:
I find their customer service to be most excellent and I never have a problem getting through to them. Possibly you were given the wrong number to call. Check their website or your online account for the correct number.
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Horrible costumer service
Posted by Adaujka on 08/30/2012
The worst customer service ever. Everytime you call in regards to any issues the reps seem to not pay attention to anything. Never resolve anything, but keep promising and later find out nothing was taken care off. Never in my life seen this kind of customer service(reps seem to have ADD ).

     
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-08-30:
Can you be more specific? What was the issue? What happened each time you called? What were you told would be done?
Posted by madconsumer on 2012-08-30:
any time i have contacted american express via the telephone, the customer service has always been 100% professional, courteous, and resolved my questions.
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American Express's crappy customer service hides behind an obsolete reputation
Posted by Jthechu365 on 08/07/2012
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- This is more a review for the customer service of American Express in general. I've been an American Express blue cash card customer for about 4 years now since college – Recently I decided to upgrade to the Gold premier card for a few reasons:

1) $0 introductory annual fee
2) Increased spending habits (particularly in travel)
3) Need to purchase airline tickets for flights planned later this year; including one I need to purchase immediately for a flight next week (3x points would have been nice for this)

I had some special circumstances when I applied - I needed to expedite the delivery process in order to purchase the ticket for the upcoming flight becausse the normal 7-10 business day deliver would have been too late. I KNEW this was possible since a friend of mine just applied and received his in 2 business days. However, after speaking to at least 4 different people in the “Apply by Phone” department, everyone denied it was possible and instead gave me a canned lie that “the system will not be updated even if we do a rush delivery.” One representative, upon a request to be transferred to a supervisor, chose to hang up on me instead!

After finally getting in touch with the supervisor there, she suggested I apply online as my friend has done. I ended up doing this, and upon speaking to Omar through the online process, he assured me immediately that it was possible to expedite the delivery of the card. Why one department within Amex CANNOT expedite delivery and another can completely baffles me and seems to paint a picture of Amex as a ridiculous bureaucracy. The only reasoning really I can grasp behind this is that Amex cares more about acquiring a new customer (my friend), rather than retaining good loyal customers who have excellent credit.

I thought the problem was solved, but when I called back the next day to confirm that the card should be expedited (as Omar instructed) it turns out I was processed for the wrong card! (Amex Gold, not Gold premier) I’m not sure how exactly this could have happened, whether there was some bug with the website (which is poorly implemented to begin with as words flicker in and out) or some kind of miscommunication with whoever I talked to afterward, but before I applied online I carefully reviewed the card application, confirmed that I was applying for the one with $0 introductory annual fee and then $175 thereafter, while my friend who also applied for the same card sat right next to me as an eyewitness and guided me through exactly what he did!

Frustratingly, I then had to sit through 3 more hours of waiting and re-explaining my issue to about 5 more representatives, including a conversation with Steve, an unhelpful and very bored supervisor from customer service, who for some reason chose to adamantly argue an irrelevant point that Amex has no authority to control what will happen to my credit score if I have to cancel a card, even if I did not order it. Steve cut me off while I was asking him a question and transferred me over to Adi on New Accounts, who was even more confused than I was about what is Gold premier vs. Gold preferred vs Gold – he then put me on hold for another 20 minutes, while I assumed he went to check his facts, maybe look back at his training manual if Amex even gives him one…I have no idea. It came to the point that after talking to Basheer in New accounts, The only solution they could come up with was to cancel the Gold Card (that I didn’t order in the first place) which would lower my credit score and reapply for the Gold Premier. I’m definitely going to cancel the Gold card, along with my blue cash that I’ve been using, and instead get the Chase Sapphire Preferred, because after dealing with Chase for several years on my banking side I know they are one to still care about customer service.

I understand many of the reps were genuinely trying to be helpful (only a few of them were very rude), but it’s clear that Amex has some serious issues with inconsistent and inaccurate information permeating across different departments, poor training (the reps don’t even know their own products they are selling!!), and moreover structural problems with management. Everyone told me something different (yes, I would be able to order my plane ticket the next day through the Amex travel department if I apply today. no I cannot get my credit card expedited.) I’m sure people still love Amex for the membership benefits for which I was initially attracted to, but one thing that they should NOT be commended for is customer service. I’m appalled - they might have had a great reputation historically, but if they continue to treat customers this way it’s almost sure to erode. It takes some real effort to drive customers away even before they even receive the product.
     
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Improper lowering of line of credit
Posted by Lacesfe on 04/10/2012
EVERYWHERE, ALABAMA -- I am requesting your assistance with a matter that has apparently developed from new credit regulations resulting from the 2008/2009 credit crisis.
American Express has unnecessarily and inappropriately lowered my line of credit (LOC). This has caused a lowering of my debt to credit ratio and decreased my credit score as a result. If this is not illegal, it should be. Unless a person has exhibited a problem with their ability to pay the bill. ie, not paying bill or habitually paying bill late then they should NOT be able to lower your LOC based on some "hunch" that you are no longer able to maintain this LOC. American Express hides behind so called changes in laws and regulations as a result of the 2008/2009 credit meltdown and refuses to reinstate former LOC. I’m sure it was not the intention of these laws to damage a persons credit, especially someone like myself who has a credit file since the mid 70’s with no late payments to American express and only two late payments ever and those were due to the bank dropping the ball with electronic payments and not making the payment, not because I couldn’t or didn’t make the payment. As soon as I discovered this issue, I immediately corrected it. I have also tried to get that removed from my credit file without success. What can you do to get laws passed that make this practice illegal AND penalize the company and pay the consumer punitive damages? I want to see some fast action on this! If this has happened to you, won't you join with me and other consumers with this problem and complain long and loud to the legislatures in your area and get these laws repelled and replaced with strong consumer advocacy laws and regulations.
     
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Posted by Slimjim on 2012-04-10:
You can't logically enact any laws that would require any entity to give you any amount of a credit line at any given time they don't wish to. That being said, perhaps some restructuring of how a Fico score is reached may be more feasible. In other words, it shouldn't count against you.
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Improper lowering of line of credit
Posted by Lacesfe on 04/06/2012
EVERYWHERE, ALABAMA -- I am requesting your assistance with a matter that has apparently developed from new credit regulations resulting from the 2008/2009 credit crisis.

American Express has unnecessarily and inappropriately lowered my line of credit (LOC). This has caused a lowering of my debt to credit ratio and decreased my credit score as a result. If this is not illegal, it should be. Unless a person has exhibited a problem with their ability to pay the bill. ie, not paying bill or habitually paying bill late then they should NOT be able to lower your LOC based on some "hunch" that you are no longer able to maintain this LOC.

American Express hides behind so called changes in laws and regulations as a result of the 2008/2009 credit meltdown and refuses to reinstate former LOC. I’m sure it was not the intention of these laws to damage a persons credit, especially someone like myself who has a credit file since the mid 70’s with no late payments to American express and only two late payments ever and those were due to the bank dropping the ball with electronic payments and not making the payment, not because I couldn’t or didn’t make the payment. As soon as I discovered this issue, I immediately corrected it. I have also tried to get that removed from my credit file without success.

What can you do to get laws passed that make this practice illegal AND penalize the company and pay the consumer punitive damages? I want to see some fast action on this! If this has happened to you, won't you join with me and other consumers with this problem and complain long and loud to the legislatures in your area and get these laws repelled and replaced with strong consumer advocacy laws and regulations.
     
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Posted by DebtorBasher on 2012-04-06:
If they look at your credit report and see any change, or feel you don't make enough to cover your debts they will make changes to your account. Usually, that is done by raising the APR. To them, it doesn't matter if you are making all of your payments on time, in their head they feel you 'shouldn't be able' to pay on time.

Yeah, they punish those of us who pay without any issues month after month, year after year...yet they give all the breaks to the people who don't pay!
Posted by JISCal2 on 2012-04-06:
To tack on to what DB said above, this isn't new. This has been going on for years. They did it to me back in 2008. I closed my account and now they are begging me to come back. Don't need 'em. They can shove it.
Posted by MRM on 2012-04-06:
Thats right, tell them to hit the road jack, and dont cha come back no more, no more, no more!
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-04-06:
You are taking this very personally, and not considering the bank's point of view.

If banks that extend credit via LOCs and credit cards didn't have the ability to reduce it, there wouldn't be many left after awhile. I don't begrudge them acting on hunches, because in many cases the hunches are probably well founded.

We dodged a heck of a bullet a few years ago, and are fortunate so many institutions survived.
Posted by BigAl on 2012-04-07:
If you continue to carry a balance on your credit cards you are living above your means. If you diligently reduce your credit card debt to the extent that you no longer need to carry a monthly balance your standard of living will increase.
Posted by Nohandle on 2012-04-07:
I've never had an American Express credit card but a few years back there was quite a rumble from many who did. They found themselves, sometimes overseas, and discovered their LOC had been reduced with no prior notification. They had NEVER been past due and had paid their balance in full each month. There they were with no other credit card and up that well known creek. I was traveling a good bit during that time and although my cards are with Visa and MC had a really uneasy feeling. I don't know what I would have done because most places won't take an out of state check and I didn't have that much cash with me.
Posted by BigAl on 2012-04-07:
Whenever you are planning a trip overseas you should notify your credit card company because you may find out they are useless without prior notification. Debit cards are the same.
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American Express SUCKS!
Posted by Cynlon428 on 02/15/2012
TEXAS -- I have been an American Express cardholder since 2009. Tonight, I went to pay my bill and I checked my statement. Late charges and finance charges were included for paying one day late for a total of over $40.00.

I always pay my balance in full. I called customer service and said, I am calling to see if the charges can be reversed as a courtesy due to being a long standing customers, my payments are rarely late, and I pay in full.

I get put on hold. The customer service representative comes back on and tells me, sorry, you had a late payment in June 2011. It's February 2012, folks.

I cancelled the card. I guess they don't need my business. Hope it was worth the $40.00 to them to lose my business. And, also have me share my experience with them on the internet for all to see.

Note to all credit card companies: if a customer takes the time to call you to reverse late charges, they pay in full, they haven't had a late payment in over EIGHT months, if you want to keep their business and not have them think ill of you for the rest of their natural born days, I recommend you give them the benefit of the doubt and reverse their charges.

Especially in these times, when companies aren't giving raises, Americans haven't seen an increase in disposable income in five years, and the cost of living is skyrocketing. Are you kidding me?!

Don't go with American Express. There are other credit card companies out there who want your business and will treat you as a valued customer.

****
There is a note on this page saying American Express might try to contact me to resolve my issue. Don't bother. I am not interested.

     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2012-02-15:
I wonder if the tipping point for AE was the June late payment - that would be two late payments in a 12-month period.

Did they forgive any penalties in June?

Given you always pay in full and have only been late by a day (assuming a day in June) for less than 17% of your yearly payments (two of 12), it's a shame they didn't work with you.

I also wonder if this is something that people who pay their bills online should keep in mind - if you mail a check, you're probably conditioned to mail it early enough to account for the time in transit; when paying online, the timing of the payment is just as critical.
Posted by Ponie on 2012-02-15:
'...they haven't had a late payment in over EIGHT months...? So are you saying you've been late with your payment before, probably eight months ago? That really isn't a very good record. I use my Chase card the most of any I have. A while back, rather than going to my bank's online bill pay, by mistake I just tossed the statement into the file drawer. The late fee was only $25 so that tells you how long ago this happened. I had never been late with my payment previously. I called Chase, explained my error and they reversed the charge. Now, if I did this again I wouldn't expect them to forgive this charge. It would be my error and I'd have to own up and pay up.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2012-02-15:
Two lates within a 12 month period? Did you find the statement in the card agreement that points out that late fees are applied for being late except when it is only one day late?
Posted by Ponie on 2012-02-15:
Scruffy, my bank has a pull-down calendar and I choose the date the payee should receive payment. I always choose a date one day before payment is due--just in case. The bank states if the payee does not receive the funds in time and I've chosen the correct date, they will pay any late fees I incur and deposit $50 in my account. Guess the computers are pretty good. I haven't collected a dime as long as I've been using it.
Posted by ok4now on 2012-02-16:
AMEX is a business and they expect you to pay them in a timely manner. If not you get whacked with fees and late charges. You said you were "ONLY" one day late. It's not when you make the payment, it's when they post it to your account. You have to allow at least 3 days for this. To avoid this I pay electronically well before the due date. I have never had a problem.
Posted by Churro on 2012-02-16:
I've never understood the appeal of American Express. You did the right thing dumping them. There are several national banks out there willing to give you a $100 to $200 bribe to sign up for their card and with better perks to boot.
Posted by ok4now on 2012-02-17:
Churro, I really don't like AMEX and it's not the card I normally use. The only reason I have it is to make purchases at Costco. This is the only C.C. that they will accept. On a typical shopping trip I pay cash. If you want to make a large purchase and don't want to carry cash this is the card you need.

Example: While recently shopping at Costco they had a 55 in. Samsung 3D LED TV on sale. Regular discounted price was $2700. The sale price was $2000. I grabbed this deal real fast. Used the AMEX card and I'll pay it off when the bill comes in.
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Review
Posted by Stevensonbrothersbailbonds63 on 12/06/2011
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- American express is sucks. Don't do any kind of business with them. As a company we ran a transaction for bail bonds. The card holder doesn't have any problem with us. American express would not release the funds to us. They want to know what's the fee for and documentation. Then they tell us what we can only charge to the customer and did not not release the fund to us. Then they charge us 4 % fee for the money that they never release to us. Is it making any sense?
     
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Posted by Slimjim on 2011-12-06:
No it really doesn't make sense. Shouldn't AmEx know already what you do and what the money was for? I know certain types of businesses cannot get merchant accounts, but you do have one. Was the account opened with the expressed intention of this type of transaction?
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-12-06:
No it doesn't, but it sounds like it could be an unusual situation and not applicable to the majority of AMEX cardholders. You say that people shouldn't do "any kind of" business with AMEX, but personally I'm looking forward to never doing business with any company in "bail bonds". I've had an AMEX card for 15 years and never had any problems at all having a charge clear. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you.
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-12-06:
The funny thing is... this company advertises right on its homepage that it accepts AMEX. I wonder if they will be changing that.
Posted by danny54 on 2011-12-06:
I'm not sure why they won't release the funds to you, but the 4% is a processing feel. All credit card companies (I think) charge one. AMEX just happens to be one of the highest.
Posted by traceylynn on 2011-12-07:

I have a feeling when money is used for something 'legal' like bailing someone out of jail AMEX just does not want any part of that. What happens if they skip out on court? Bail bondsmen’s usually collect 10 percent of the bail and front the 90 percent to the court. What many people don’t know is most courts return *100 percent* after the court issues are over so as long as the person shows up to court who is out on bail the bondsmen makes a pretty nice return. So the person who was bailed out skips out and then the bondsman tries to run thru the other 90 percent of the bail on the card because the contract was ‘defaulted’ on. Is the limit high enough? Will it go thru? Then let’s say the card holder disputes the charge OR they dispute the original 10% charge. AMEX just helped someone jump bail. Yea, that is an iffy legal/moral area there. I don’t blame them on that one for refusing to get involved in all of that.
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American Express Credit Card Foreign Fraud
Posted by Dsajk18 on 11/27/2011
SYDNEY -- A foreign charge in EUR was incorrectly debited to my Australian American Express credit card. When I queried this amount, it was then refunded, again in EUR. However as it is an Australian card, the second amount was much less, in AUD than the original amount charged. When I queried this with Amex they explained to me how foreign currency transactions work, which of course I do understand. What I don't understand is why I am out of pocket for an amount which should never have been charged to my credit card in the first place. When I went back again to Amex to complain that they need to refund the full amount, I was given a number I could call if I wanted help to cancel my credit card.

Take that advice: cancel your Amex and save yourself from their insufferable customer service!
     
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Posted by trmn8r on 2011-11-27:
What company/vendor charged your card? The only thing I can imagine is they feel this is a charge that you initiated, and then cancelled (whether or not it is appropriate to leave a fee on for that I don't know). If it were a fraudulent charge, I would expect no fees.
Posted by clutzycook on 2011-11-27:
How much less? I don't know how it works in Australia, but in the US, most cards say that you're not responsible for any fraudulent charges after the first $50 USD.
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