On Nov 1st, 2013, my wife and I called American Express to instruct us on how to cash in rewards points with an airline that AMEX does not have a relationship. They instructed us to use our AMEX card to buy the tickets and after a period of time to call back and they would credit our card at a ratio of one dollar for 100 points. When we did call back, AMEX told me that on Nov 4th, 2013, they changed their policy and the ratio was now one dollar for 166 points. This represents a loss of $500 even though we bought the tickets in good faith before the change date.
On Nov 1st, the AMEX representative did not warn me of this impending change. The AMEX supervisor in North Carolina told us: “we reserve the right to change our policies at any time.” Being a valued member since 1987 means nothing. So be forewarned, when dealing with American Express, they reserve the right to change policies at any time.
I am 49 years old. I have had American Express accounts and accepted them in my businesses since I was 20 years old. I have been an entrepreneur my whole life. Often I also held a six figure job as well. Two years ago, many banks panicked and started slashing credit lines. This really hurt my business a lot. I wound up with a lot of debt and customers that had no way to pay me because their credit cards were cut off, and their clients credit was cut off.
The government pretends like the Banks didn't screw businesses over, but in fact they did. The banks screwed small business to the hilt, and they screwed the consumers to the maximum as well. This left American Express one of the few accounts open that I could use. Charging on average about $2,000 per month in all business expenses, and paying in full each month. In early June 2010 I got a call from American Express demanding I pay my bill immediately. The statement had not even gone out from them yet and was not due for 20 days but they demanded I pay right there on the spot. I refused as that defeats the whole purpose of using the card.
So, American Express turned my charging privileges off. Why would they do that, when I had never been late, and the payment was not even due?? This in turn cause me to have to pay things in cash which caused problems for my business. I then had to put other people off or try to collect debts early from my clients. Some of them got angry and canceled their contracts with me! After paying my statement balance American Express removed the hold and some automatic transactions when through. They then called me demanding payment again before the statement went out again.
I explained that I would make a payment by the due date as I always did. I made a payment and 2 days later was hit by a car which made my life a painful hell. At the same time, American Express illegally processed an ACH bank draft to my personal checking account which I did not authorize, resulting in a credit balance to my account.
This in turn over drafted my personal checking account, because it only had a few hundred dollars in it. That ruined a 15 year pristine history with my bank. It also resulted in hundreds of dollars in bank fees and cost me about 150 hour of hell writing letters, sitting on the phone, in bank offices, etc... all the while in terrible pain from my injuries.
When I called American Express they said they would fix this problem and pay my bank fees. They didn't... after my second call a week later they left me a voice message saying they were just going to keep the money! So I had to file complaints with the Federal Reserve to get my bank to reverse the illegal ACH draft from American Express. It took 31 days for them to do that. So American Express had the use of someone's money for over 31 days... more than a full billing cycle - and they did not pay anyone for the use of that money. On the other hand, I had to pay very, very, very severely for American Express to use that money.
Finally when the illegal transaction gets reversed, American Express does still not honor its word. It does not reimburse me for the fees or the hell I went through. Just as a statement arrives showing the 31 days with a credit balance, American Express goons start calling me and threatening me that my account is past due. How could it possibly be past due when they had the use of someone's money for 31 days and my statement showed a credit balance? But they didn't stop there...
Even though I immediately sent them 1/3 of a payment BEFORE the next statement came, they had already turned me over to a collection agency!!! When the statement did arrive it did not show my credit from the previous month applied to the balance, it did not show the payment that I had made, instead it showed a jacked up balance with highly inflated fees attached.
Now, I already had a dispute running about American Express with the Attorney General's office. They wrote a letter filled with Lies to the Attorney General and made it seem like they were the good guys. At the very same time they wrote this pile of dung to the Attorney General - they then turn my account over to a collection agency! They did this while the current statement was still in the mail!! It had not even arrived to me yet, and they had already turned it over to collections.
American Express is an evil company headed by the very swine of this world. The kind of people that need a noose around their neck. As Humans we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. American Express are the demons from hell that want to squeeze the life out of you, crush your liberties and destroy your happiness. Wicked slime that should be spit roasted in an open flame.
If you think they treat customers bad, you should know how they treat their employees. I currently work in customer service for American Express and wanted to let you all know how unfair they are to their own employees. There's a million things I could share, but the one that stands out most is how they grade our performance. There are only two pieces of information they use when determining if you do your job well. These pieces of information decide whether you stay or go, whether you get a bonus or not and whether you will ever be promoted to something above phone representative.
When a customer calls in, they will receive an email survey on how the experience was and if they would recommend American Express to their friends. The survey's results are broken down into two parts: customer service and "refer to a friend." Under customer service, the customer grades the call on a scale from Poor to Excellent with things like Very Good and Fair in-between. If we do not get an excellent, our stats drop. Period. It matters not what is said in the comments. Only an excellent increases our stats and anything less, hurts our stats.
Next, the customer decides if they would refer a friend to American Express on a scale from 1-10, 10 meaning they would absolutely refer AMEX to a friend. If we do not get a 10, our stats drop. Period. It matters not what is said in the comments. Only 10's increase our stats and anything less, hurts our stats. Now, you should know that THIS is the part of the survey that affects our stats more because it's weighted more. Refer to a friend score is like 60% and customer service is 40%.
Now, here's where it gets interesting. The customer gets to write in comments all over the survey, anything they want about their experience or AMEX in general. Often times, I will get a survey come back that will be a "Very Good, 8" for example. Now, mind you this result actually brings my stats down. Then I will read the comments and they will say, "Customer service representative was very polite and helpful. My problem is not with her. AMEX voice response system is too confusing and it takes forever to get to a live person. Also, I don't go around recommending credit card companies to my friends."
Oh, wonderful. Thank you so much for saying kind things about me, but giving me an 8 on refer to friend instead of 10. You have no idea Mr. Customer, that because of you, I will not be receiving a bonus and I may not get that position I've been eyeing in project management. Customers also use this survey to complain about things that have happened to them in the past or on a previous call. They will even specifically say in the comments something like, "This is not about THIS call, but last month I tried to pay my bill online and your website gave me an error message... etc. I'm sick of your website giving me problems."
Management doesn't look at those comments, they only care about the NUMBER we were given. In fact, EVERY SINGLE one of my surveys I have ever received that were less than Excellent/10, specifically stated in the comments that I was wonderful. I was pleasant, knowledgeable, helpful, polite.. etc.
However, the comments will go on to complain about an AMEX POLICY or the way our statements are printed. Or our voice response system. Or our website. Or that AMEX won't waive a late fee (which, by the way we reps don't decide. We don't make the decision to waive or not. We run your request though a web "tool" and either get approved or denied. Period. We don't get to determine on our own if we feel a waiver is justified regardless of your circumstance).
ANYWAY bottom line is these are things that are out of our control as reps. Yet, we still get punished for them. Now, I realize customers don't know this. They have no idea that what they score is a direct reflection on THAT representative and that representative alone. I feel bad for customers because if most of them knew this, they would grade reps (well at lease ME), perfect and then use the comments to rant because the comments don't affect my scores. That way, they could get their message across, but not hurt the representative they just spoke to who was wonderful and did her best.
What ends up happening is a lot of reps will say or do ANYTHING to get a good score. Meaning, they will say things the customer wants to hear knowing full well it can't be done because all we care about is what number you will put on that survey you get tomorrow. If you call back later because you were told something that wasn't true, what does the representative care? He got his Excellent/10 out of you already. See, AMEX has put us reps between a rock and a hard place. We are forced to look out for ourselves and not the customer.
It's a shame because I am damn good at my job. I've been in customer service for many years and treat people kindly and always sympathize with them. I am well spoken and polite. Customers love me. They do not love AMEX though and AMEX has found a way to make this MY fault and MY problem. For those of you who truly had a nasty rep, I am sorry. Those people deserve the Poor/1's you give them. I do not however. I have personally known reps that have been let go because their scores were too low. Each of these reps have had wonderful phone skills, always spoke gently and politely and truly cared.
Unfortunately, the luck of the draw was too many customers chose to take out their frustrations about AMEX policies on those rep's surveys. It's not the customer's fault. Like I said many reps can be nasty and deserve those scores. MY customers who liked ME, but not something about AMEX and their policies had no idea when they chose to give the call an 8 or 9 or 1 or 2 or whatever... that it would hurt only me. Me personally. Me and only me. They have set us reps up to fail by their stupid policies and money hungry ways.
They know full well that the surveys should be an honest place for customers to express their disappointments with THEM as a company, but they chose to put it on ONE rep's shoulders, even if it is clear the venting is not about how that one representative treated that customer or handled the call. They've done this so they have an excuse not to pay us well or promote us. Sad. I'm looking for a job more suited to reward me for treating people with kindness and respect, which is what I am good at and passionate about. I really am sorry for all of you who have had terrible experience with customer service. You deserve better. And so do I.
Just like a lot of the bad reviews American Express has been getting. We experienced the same thing today. We've been excellent customers for about 10 years now that is why we have the Platinum card. Never late on payments and paid off all charges every time we use this card.
In June 2009, they sent us a letter telling us that "Given the difficult economic environment... we have had to make the difficult decision to lover your credit limit to $3,300," (from a credit limit of $20,800). I still used this card for groceries and gas at Costco because this is the only credit card Costco accepts. We continued to be good customers and paid it off the entire amount due each month long before the due dates.
Lo and behold today while trying to pay for my Costco purchase, my AMEX card purchase was denied! Fortunately, I had cash on hand to pay for it. I called AMEX right away when I got home and they told me they decided to close our account today and they can only talk to my husband about it since he's the primary holder in our account. My husband couldn't believe it. He said he just used it this morning to buy gas at Costco.
He called AMEX and all they can say is that we have too many revolving credit in our account. It doesn't even matter to them that we have a good track record with them and no late payments with all our other credit cards. They said they have the right to close our account at anytime. What awful business practice! They don't care about their customers at all. I'm only glad that I found out about it because we have several bills we do automatic payments each month through AMEX. Thankfuly none of them were due today!
The only thing that worried me is that this card is linked to our DELTA miles account and at this time we have over 357,000 miles to use for travel. I called DELTA to ask about our miles and thankfully they said it is safe and AMEX can't touch it! Thank you DELTA! Is this practice even legal? I wish there would be an aggressive lawyer out there who would put together a class action lawsuit against AMEX! Count me in!
Now I understand why AMEX is not accepted in a lot of countries. We have traveled to EUROPE and ASIA and tried to use it, but even the well established places we went to didn't accept AMEX. No wonder VISA is the most widely used card in the world. They treat their customers well and they have good customer service people who are actually in the USA (not INDIA) who knows what we're talking about! TO AMERICAN EXPRESS I SAY GOOD RIDDANCE!!! YOU'RE DEFINITELY NOT GOING TO BE MISSED!!! We wish you all the bad karma in the universe because of the way you treat your loyal customers!
I am writing to express my disappointment and frustration with the American Express company and its poor business practices for small businesses that work diligently to follow the rules and pay on time only to be disregarded as insignificant to American Express. Below is my story which I am sure will not matter even to the reader of this letter yet I believe change never takes place until people make their voices heard.
Our small business opened an account with American Express in September 2007. We also opened a merchant account for accepting American Express in January of 2008. Excited to be able to take Advantage of no limit, no interest and additional rewards for our small business purchases from our vendors we began using the card. The card was a no limit card (Gold and balance must be paid in full each month) or so we were told but quickly found out that there is in fact a type of limit.
Understanding that in a struggling economy it is important for lenders to be cautious we worked within the limits of American Express and policies. We had spent over $10,000 in a single month and paid each bill in full and on time to establish our creditworthiness with American Express like we do with every lender. Our name is important to our business and we work diligently to keep a good name.
April 2009 we tried to use our card with a vendor with whom we do a lot of business and had always used American Express to pay this vendor (which of course costs our vendor more due to the higher merchant fees charged by American Express). The amount was about $9,000 and we had no reason to believe this would be issue since we had spent as much as $10,000 in a single month less than a year ago and had always paid our balance in full and on time. The card was declined. We contacted American Express to find out why it was declined.
Long story short and a few phone calls later we were told that due to the last six months spending pattern they would not approve the charge. We explained that our business was at its peak in the summer and is when the larger charges would be made but were told too bad. We were told to increase our spending in order to increase our spending pattern.
The following day our vendor ran the card again (we had not contacted them to tell them to wait for a different credit card from us) and oddly the charge was approved. This restored our confidence in American Express and its willingness to work with small businesses. This of course was temporary due to the rest of the story that follows.
June 2009 another invoice from the same vendor was due in the amount of approximately $8,400. Since we had paid our balances again on time we had no reason to believe this would be issue. Once again and with much embarrassment the card was declined. Primary card member (name withheld for privacy) then got online and made a $4,000 early payment in good faith to American Express and then placed a call to have the charge approved from our vendor. We were told that American Express had placed a limit on the account that day for $3,400 though the balance on the card at the time was $8,000 of which a $4,000 early payment had been made.
The representative explained that due to other account balances and negative statements which appeared on our Experian credit report they determined to place a limit on the card that day. We check our credit reports daily and there were no negative comments or delinquencies. HOWEVER $20,000 of debt had been paid off in the past 30-40 days (because we value our good name and credit) due to the increase in our business not to mention no delinquencies reported in many years on any credit report. American Express did not care to review or work with our small business in a timely fashion. They claimed that there was nothing that could be done.
We removed American Express as a payment option for our customers the minute your company made it clear that our business did not matter. Not only will you lose the high merchant fees paid to you by our vendors when we used your card - you will no longer receive merchant fees from our sales as we are no longer willing to accept your card. These are the reasons I am writing to express my deep disappointment and extreme frustration with a credit card company that claims to be on the side of small business yet I find the practices of American Express to speak quite the contrary.
We accepted American Express as merchants from our customers though you charge the highest merchant fees and take the longest to pay the merchants. Visa, MasterCard and Discover all pay the following business day. American Express as long a week may pass before the money is released into the small business person's account. For small business this creates real frustration and is truly a hindrance financially to accept this card. This is not beneficial to small business in any way. Higher merchant fees and slow pay to the business does not give small business many reasons to accept your card from customers.
Now add to that the lousy treatment of the small business cardholder that is told no limit but this is in fact a lie even for those small businesses that pay balances in full and on time every time. Punished on both sides by American Express has left a bad taste in the mouth of this small business. Realizing of course that as a small business we are not even a blip on your radar or bait in this large ocean of business, we have made the decision to no longer do business with American Express.
Apparently spending over $100,000 in a little over a year and half though always paid on time and accepting your outrageous merchant fees and slow pay practices and being charged $170 to even have a card counts for nothing. This makes the taste of doing business with American Express bitter and it will no longer be tolerated by our small business. Punishing the people and businesses that do the right thing and pay on time is not smart business practice in this fragile economy.
We are a very small business aware of how little our business matters to American Express however I wonder how much of American Express' business is made up of small business and how much will be lost due to these pathetic practices. I always wondered why so many small business owners did not want to accept American Express but the picture is becoming quite clear to me.
The company does not care about the Little Joes that make up a sizable amount of the economy and rather than work with small business or loyal members they prefer to disregard them. A terrible mistake because as our small business grows and it is growing, American Express will not be benefiting from our growth. If you don't treat us well while we are small then you won't have our business when we are big.
Trust me that these events are likely to keep us from ever accepting your card as a merchant or using your card as a cardholder. I hope other small businesses do the same once I share my story with them since I am sure you will never share this story on any of your expensive commercials that we as merchants and cardholders pay to view.
After my experiences I did a bit of research online (check www.my3cents.com) for American Express reviews and found that my story is very similar to the stories of multiple disgruntled card members and merchants. It is pathetic the way American Express has treated loyal customers with histories much longer than our own history with your company.
If American Express is planning to ask for bailout money as so many other irresponsible companies are doing then I assure you the voices of current and former disgruntled customers and merchants will be heard screaming "DO NOT BAIL OUT AMERICAN EXPRESS!" Why would taxpayers want to bail out a company that treats customers that pay on time as poorly as you have treated us and many other people?
You may wish to consider changing the name of your company from American Express to American Depress which is what you are doing to every small business owner and loyal card member out thereby charging higher merchant fees; delaying payment, changing credit limits without notification and restricting cardholders which pay on time.
America is a country of freedom and choice and you have chosen to mistreat and disregard our business and other small business owners and loyal members and the same courtesy will be extended to you. Another disappointed cardholder & merchant.
EL PASO, TEXAS -- Have been an Amex customer for many years. Use the card daily. Just went to purchase airline tickets online and the airline I always fly with, and always purchase tickets with always with my Amex declined the transaction. Reason was that the address on file with my card company didn't match what was on file with the airline. I re-keyed and validated it 5 times. Finally went out to Amex website to see what address on file was listed as (I have a street address with the word "West" in it; but some address verification services just use "W"). I was SHOCKED to see my address listed at the house I lived in 4 years ago. And, worse, it is my ex-husband's address.
I have had 2 residences since that address on file, all updated timely with Amex. Three representatives at Amex could not give me an answer to why this occurred. They called it a "computer glitch." One representative said it was "above my pay grade." They surmised that my ex-husband recently made a change to his account profile and somehow because I was AT ONE TIME linked to him, it changed my address on my PRIMARY account.
The representative said they had been researching this - had a "few calls" - for over a month. I asked when I could expect an answer - told them (on the recorded line) that I considered this a MAJOR privacy issue. And, the last representative just told me she would have her supervisor call me - within 48 hours. So, I am waiting.
In the meantime, I cannot believe some Amex cardholder that this has happened to has not contacted the media. I work in the financial services industry - actually in technology, so the explanation of a "computer glitch" was particularly irritating to me - and we are obsessive about client data and related privacy. I would have expected Amex was REQUIRED BY LAW to disclose this "glitch," which represents nothing less than a customer data breach on the part of Amex. This situation is unbelievable to me.
I have been a long time Amex cardholder - as noted, I use the card every day, and about 3 times a week even online (so the address would have had to be accurate). I'm not sure what to do from here. In my case, my ex-husband was investigated by the police for an email breach that occurred during my divorce proceedings. I didn't know what to expect when I called Amex - was thinkng the worst, that my ex had been able to authenticate as me with Amex.
I had no inkling that Amex would tell me client data records had been somehow changed without customer consent or initiation. But that's basically what they said. And, worst of all - I am set up to receive alerts from Amex if my address, email, statement preferences, etc. change. Well, my address DID change. To my ex husband's address. And NOTHING from Amex. Nothing proactively, like the alerts. And, nothing but an exchange with 3 reps when I called that made me scared to continue to be an Amex customer...
CALIFORNIA -- I'm not really waiting for an apology but just reminiscing about my experience 30 years ago this April. My friend and I decided to spend some time driving the coast of California. We visited a lot of great places and we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco around midnight in late April of 1981. The next day we toured the town a bit in my 77 trans am and even stopped to chat with a nice S.F. police officer and we asked him for directions to a hotel or restaurant. I can't really recall where we were heading but little did I know we'd be seeing him again real soon.
We checked into a hotel and settled down around the swimming pool. One of the workers at the hotel even let us put our beer in the ice cooler. Couldn't have been more relaxing. That was until a about half of the S.F. police department and SWAT team showed up. They hopped the pool fence and pretty well had us surrounded by what had to be one of the most impressive collection of weapons owned by any police department in the United States.
I still remember the various pistols, shot guns and rifles all pointing mostly towards our heads. Some were inches away and a few stood out such as the Dirty Harry Swiss and Weston. I could see that some of the swat team were also taking aim at us from a balcony overlooking the pool. I later found out that there was a news crew there to document what was supposed to be a major crime bust.
We were told to put our hands on our heads, then someone ordered us to put our hands behind our backs, then our heads, then our backs until we were basically doing jumping jacks without the jumping. I finally asked them "what do you want us to do with our hands" which put an end to our hand waving and we were then placed in handcuffs.
So I guess there was a ten million dollar traveler's check bank robbery in Montreal and our checks were close to the serial numbers that were taken in the heist. Close but not the same apparently and we ended up getting a free night in the hotel because the clerk phoned it in. I don't think anyone was too happy that they had the wrong guys except for my friend and myself. We joked with the officer about asking him for directions earlier and we were just relieved that we weren't going off to jail.
That's the short version of the events of that afternoon, but my issue with American Express is that none of the major banks would cash in my checks and exchange them for new ones. We finally convinced an angry bank manager in Santa Barbara to exchange them for cash or Thomas Jeffersons but that cost me a few bucks for the transaction. This was after a few calls to American Express and following their instructions.
I talked to my bank when I got back home but I never heard back from American Express and being very young, I guess I just let it go. A refund still would have been nice for the few bucks that I lost. At least it would have shown that someone at head office cared a bit when one of their customers ends up staring down the barrel of over a dozen weapons because we were using A.E's checks.
It doesn't really matter anymore but in any event I thought that this was an interesting story to share. I still have credit cards but I'm still hesitating on getting one from American Express. I guess I just don't want to ever again suffer standing in my shorts in the hot sun and watching my beer go flat because I'm wearing some nice, tight steel handcuffs.
Boycott American Express. I was a 13 year member/customer of American Express. With a credit score of 800 and decided to open a Import furniture company. American Express did a great job offering me 5 accounts with credit of 150k with low aprs and continued to market me and offer more account. I pay all my debts on time and importing counted on American Express for my container purchases. This is what American Express can do for you. They will offer you loads of great deals, but watch out - here is what they did to me.
2 years ago they told me my Gold account had earned 40k+ earned expenditures, then when economy took a turn they quickly lowered it to 22k and said, "Your FICO score changed." It hadn't changed until they did this to all 5 account I had with them maxing out my cards making it appear as I was debited out.
November 2010 they called me before my cut off date asking for a payment, I stated my cut off date was next week and that no payment was due. They continued to beg to set up a payment, I said "Why are you calling? I always paid my debts on time. I paid 65k off in debts this year." She replied "Oh yes and 25k off on your account is with us, you are a excellent customer for 13 years," then said "Can we set up your next payment." I said "No, I will pay it as I always do."
The day before my statement date they emailed me a letter saying, "So there are no surprises when using your account. We lowered your limit on your gold card to 1500.00. Stay in your limit or you will be embarrassed at checkout."
I called a supervisor again - was told my FICO score changed (I ran a credit report and no changes EXCELLENT CREDIT). Then said, "If you give us 3 years business taxes maybe we will give you a little bit back." I closed all account - told her she was damaging my cash flow for my company and importing and it was all or none, meaning work this out or it would cause me into default. She replied "Your FICO score created this." I have my credit report printed and it's excellent.
I had a container departure leaving Indonesia and needed it, I had to use the money I would have paid them to get my goods to save my business. I in turn incorporated my business, homesteaded my home to protect me from them. I sent them the cease & desist letter as I was advised to do so. I sent them a letter to do debt consolidation and immediately they sent me to collections. I now had to do the same thing to their collections who are very rude. All this at the holidays, I have survived with my company through all the hurdles of the economy and they have made it to almost close my company due to my cash flow.
In addition, they sent me to collections for this. They sent me to an attorney who is pathetic and has no better customer service skills or solutions. I am starting my New Year off with the theory "support small Business" - never bank or invest in large companies, minimize doing any sort of business with corporations - if there is a company local you can do business with do so.
If anyone has any ideas or success stories, please email me on my next step with American Express. By the way the points they give you, they truly don't give you, MERCHANTS PAY POINTS WHEN YOU USE YOUR CARD AT THEIR BUSINESS. Let's all pay cash and let these companies know what it feels like, and how it hurts! It is time to take stands American and stop letting companies like AMERICAN EXPRESS whom NEEDS TO BE CLOSED effect us!
I was a co-owner of a small business. We received a solicitation to our business by mail for an Open small business AMEX account. We returned the application in the businesses FEIN. As part of the application, we had cards issued to each of our employees so that they could charge fuel and operating expenses.
We closed our business at the end of 2006 and wound up carrying a balance on the OPEN account. The account was always paid on-time and well more than the minimum, although it was usually paid off. We closed our business after being stiffed on a lot of money after our biggest client defaulted on payment. We continued to pay down the AMEX bill with personal funds in good faith for 18 months. AMEX continued to raise the interest rate from 9.99% to 24.99% even though the bill was always paid on-time and above the minimum. We called to protest the laughable rate and made an offer to close out the account.
AMEX insisted that the account was a personal account and began to threaten our personal credit. When we protested such an outrage, they informed us that the terms of the account changed once the card was used and the cards became personal cards. Even though all of the charges were by the employees, they linked the charges to "my" card. They offered to settle at 80%, but "Mr. **" of AMEX demanded immediate payment. If we didn't pay immediately, the account would be declared "distressed" and would immediately go to collections against me personally.
I told him that it would take a day or two to get the money to them as I wasn't going to wire transfer money out of necessary accounts over the telephone. He said that I had to pay in that phone call or the offer was rescinded and collections would start immediately. I told him to take a hike. After consulting a very good attorney, paperwork was requested and AMEX did in fact bury changes to the terms making it a "personal" account instead of a "business" account. They reserved the right to go after any cardholder or all, regardless of who made the charges on the linked account.
After a month of wrangling, AMEX offered settlement at 75%, payable in 30 days. After we paid it, we received a notice that they were reporting it against my personal credit and that I was receiving a 1099-MISC income statement in the amount of the write-down. They also informed me that if I ever applied for another AMEX card of any kind, they reserved the right to re-apply the write-down balance to my account immediately plus interest. That's an easy one to handle.
This bait and switch was never knowingly agreed to by me or any of our employees. Thankfully, the resources were there to pay off the account and the resulting tax hit from their games. This company is crooked crooked crooked and appears to do anything in their power, legal or illegal, to change the terms in their favor after the fact. I would have never knowingly agreed to personally guarantee the accounts of a business. Shame on American Express. The only way to beat their rigged game is to not play it at all.
Time to leave home without American Express! As long time customers of American Express let us share our frustration and disappointment in the way this company has been treating us and indeed many card members during this past year. Our cascading grief is over American Express' reduction of our credit limits, and raising credit card interest rates. American Express is reacting to the financial crisis out of fear. The financial damage to American Express will be long lasting and far-reaching.
Let us give you a little history as to what type of customers we have been. Our payments are always on time to all our creditors. Our story is like so many other card members. We have two open accounts with American Express. We have been members for seven years, perfect credit with long established payment history, FICO scores over 800 but only Amex has tampered with our credit limits. Only Amex has seen this pressing need to reduce our credit limits.
We called Costco and took off the auto renewal for Amex, we no longer want American Express to continue any further unilateral credit damage to our pristine credit portfolio. American Express can no longer be trusted with our credit. We have stayed the course but American Express has run into the economic ditch!
We have called several times, talked to numerous staff, those who survived, faxed our request with supporting documentation and now we are writing to you for redress. In the past it was a punishment to raise interest rates for those who could not pay their debt on time. Is this our reward for being loyal card members with established credit histories, to raise our interest rates for paying our debt on time? We suggest, just as American Express looks ever so closely at our credit worthiness, we look to the executive board and CEO for leadership worthiness!
These actions take us back to a time where perhaps Pony Express might be a better company name. American Express is in total free fall. American Express is failing to provide customer service with a total disregard for ethics and indifference to the many card members. It seems we are going back in time with Pony American Express. We just recently read of American Express filing a lawsuit against the infamous Courtney Love. Legal papers showed the rocker owes $352,059.67 in unpaid charges and fees on her Amex Gold Card - which has since been suspended by the company.
So let us understand, American Express trusted a well-known drug addict, notorious for her litigation in not paying bills and American Express extended credit on a gold card for $350,000 but Amex cannot restore our previous credit limit of $40,000? We pay all our bills on time, never been late on any of our payments and we are not drug addicts, in fact we do not even use drugs, not even the good kind! American Express will never need to file litigation against us but we know so many who want to file a class action lawsuit against American Express.
We jumped through the languishing morass of the many hoops of fire and sent in our full credit report, tax returns and listed assets along with an overall financial statement. We are writing to inform you that, after reviewing your letter of August 2009 denying us our credit increase, with obfuscated contrived reasons we will not accept this treatment from American Express.
We are financially solid and have not changed, we are not sure the same can be said of the financial hemorrhaging of American Express that will hold another round of layoffs, after cutting 7,000 jobs in October 2008, decimating its work force along with frozen salaries and good luck with that Courtney Love lawsuit. It was sadly, no surprise, when we read your computer-generated letter of indifference. The famous words of Thomas Jefferson rang so true "Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies."
In July of 2009, American Express itself stated second-quarter net income came in at $337 million, down 48% from 2008 when the company made $653 million. This net income attributable to common shareholders was only 9 cents a share, down from 56 cents a share in the year-ago quarter, according to the company. At the same time net write-offs for the company were 10% of total loans in American Express's U.S. card-services business in the second quarter. Loans that were at least 30 days delinquent represented 4.4% of total loans in the latest period, up from 3.3% a year earlier. We do read the Wall Street Journal.
Yet with all this bad news, there was one bright spot as stated by the financial leader of American Express, Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault: "The number of card members who are falling behind in their payments, the volume of bankruptcy filings and the level of loan write-offs were better than we had expected."
"If these trends continue, we expect U.S. lending write-off rates on a managed basis to be below 10% for the second half of the year, which is lower than the outlook we offered earlier this year," Mr. Chenault added. Yet American Express continues to punish us, the good card members, why? Is it out of fear that we might increase the financial bloodletting? I do not think you need our help for that! May I suggest a bold new direction, take care of the customer first and the bottom line will follow!
American Express appears, as a company, to be in poor financial shape, and undercapitalized. Since we take our financial life seriously, we cannot be associated with a financial company that manages to lose so many employees, assets and runs its own affairs so poorly. We are not proud of our American Express relationship, are you proud of your leadership? In addition, American Express has too many bad reviews within the consumer community, and your overall rating on every consumer site, is a very poor rating.
I looked, in vain, for a POSITIVE review of your company from any person or news source, and could not find even one except for the mysterious award from JD Powers. Even JD Powers would not return my calls when I asked them to define further what criteria they used to base American Express only award of "good customer service."
This recession will not last forever. When it is over, and people choose the few credit cards they are willing to use, there will be fewer companies and cards to choose from. The ones who will survive are the ones who realize that the only thing that keeps a credit card company afloat are customers who accept a card, use it, and pay their bills. The companies who will be in business then are the ones who take care of that good group of people today. You are clearly NOT taking care of your good customers today, so I don't expect you to be in business then.
American Express has raised our interest rates on not only new purchases but on all existing balances. In fact when Congress passed the Credit Card Reform Act, this is exactly what they wanted to prevent Credit Card Companies from doing. We also found this very interesting from Financial News USA. "WASHINGTON (AP) -- American Express Co. spent $710,000 lobbying the federal government in the second quarter on legislation touching on an array of financial issues, a recent disclosure report shows."
The article continues with American Express lobbied lawmakers on legislation related to credit card fees and practices, data security and consumer privacy. American Express also lobbied in the April-June period on consumer bankruptcy, advertising and taxes. Beside Congress, the company lobbied the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Office of Thrift Supervision, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Internal Revenue Service and Executive Office of the President, according to the report filed July 20 with the House clerk's office.
The $710,000 spent by American Express in the second quarter compares with $830,000 in the first quarter, and nearly $1.1 million in the year-ago period. We were amazed to find American Express on the fast track to being granted banking status in just a 30 day period. This usually takes much longer. Of course with this banking status, the company gained over 3 billion in TARP funds. It was not so nice for American Express to get credit but deny the card members credit.
Our final question, was the $710,000 well spent for the persuasion of influence in Washington DC? While your company is losing funding, market share, customers, bad debt write offs, against a backdrop of massive company layoffs and your increasing salary of over 42 million with a base salary, cash bonus, stock and other options was it all worth it? Just curious! So Mr. Kenneth Chenault can you redress this issue with our credit limit or do we need to hold American Express accountable in the court of public opinion? The choice is yours.