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Amex Empowers Reps, a Good Sign of a Service-Oriented Comeback
By -

MISSOURI -- I'm an Amex cardholder for 20 years, and I can testify to some noticeable slips in what was once a consistent level of gold standard of service. Their crime was stooping to the level of the competition. Our crime was making such lows profitable.

Today I had a big problem of being improperly billed large amounts over a period of time by a cable company that does not provide my cable service nor has ever been authorized to bill me for services. The problem was acerbated by circumstances that made it difficult to go over statements in a timely mannerso some charges were well over the standard 60 days reporting period. I talked to a rep named Gabe/Gib who did a number of things to single-handedly restore my faith in American Express:

1) He related his own personal experience with the cable company to try to gain a better understanding of the possible scenarios without diminishing the legitimacy of my complaint.

2) He was empathetic, not pandering, and related to me from my (fairly odd) comfort zone, not a script. He both trusted himself and WAS TRUSTED to be authentic.

3) He used common sense, not merely a policy book, to ascertain an investigation was required.

4) MOST IMPORTANTLY, he showed shrewd business sense when he pointed out both the POLICY that mandates the loss of some of my 'rights' and then OVERRODE that policy, €”not because I am a customer, but because I am a CERTAIN customer.

Not a big customer. Not even an interest-paying customer. I'm just a LOYAL customer. As much as it had stooped in the last 10 years, it still has been head and shoulders above the rest as far as I was concerned. The message was intentional and clear: "you've stuck with us through thick and thin, we're going to stick with you now. Investigations cost money and manpower but hey, you're worth it."

And it would be very bad business to believe everyone is. Investigations cost money and manpower and profit margins. It's GOOD BUSINESS to protect those margins. But it's a rarer sort of GOOD BUSINESS to know when the best way to protect them is to put your long-term customers ahead of short term financial gains.

In other words, Amex empowers its reps to make exceptions in certain circumstances to reward customers who don't ditch them the moment a transfer check with a slightly lower interest rate pops up in the mail. And it's SMART. Because if you think it's hard to find a truly customer-driven credit card company, try finding a loyal credit card customer.

If you're not being treated right, get the hell out of there. Don't tolerate liars, cheaters, or thieves: these are huge corporations, not absent-minded apple merchants: if they're making "billing mistakes" or playing games with due dates and interest rates, pay off the card and don't do business with that company again. Ever.

And consumers need to have standards of your own. Don't milk a business for their knowledge and expertise, then buy at the warehouse down the road for a buck fifty cheaper. Don't abandon a company that has always been good to you for free airline tickets to some over-rated tourist trap. And if you DO, don't be surprised when the new company begins milking you as fast as it can for everything it can get away with. Don't be surprised when they have no customer service, no straight-forward websites, no consistent rates, no honest answers, no scruples and especially, no pity. What do you think the planes tickets were filling in for?

It Sucks!
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star-
Rating: 1/51

I've been enrolled in this Premier rewards card for five months, attracted by that opening card bonus of 50000 points. What a fool I was. Yes, I got those points but haven't used them yet (to tell you what, use them immediately once you get it or you'll never be able to).

This month, I got an email saying there's a security issue with my card and they need me to contact them immediately. I gave them a call and they put me through a bothering process to verify my identity with BOA, however, the moment I finished that, the girl on the other side told me: "Oh, your identity is still not verified, another team will contact you for that." Why, then why did you make me contact my banker of BOA and go through this process? They refused to tell you the reason. Fine, I have patience. Let's see.

The other day, I got another email saying exactly the same thing as if I had never called them. So I called them again and this time they need me to verify another bank relationship, ok! I gave them Citibank. The Citibank lady was very nice to help me go through the process and thanked me for being a loyal and nice member. HOWEVER, the AMEX lady was not satisfied. She told me she still can't verify my identity and need me to find my bankers and get their signature. DAMN YOU!

Then why did you let me go through the whole process, I only have one hour lunch break and there was no time left for me to have lunch with all of your **. Not to mention both banks proved all my info correct. COME ON, I AM A REAL PERSON! And again they refuse to tell me what the security issue is and why with two banks' guarantee, I'm still not a trustworthy person!

Also, it's not long since I got those bonus points, so I wonder if they just want me to cancel the card so they get all my money for their purpose and don't have to give me the bonus. And the bank statement is a total mess. I paid in full but the amount I paid somehow becomes what I owe them, so what is showed on their website is I need to pay twice the amount of money as before. I'm SPEECHLESS. I've never had this awful experience with any bank in the world. I decide to cancel this card and never use AMEX again, they really know how to piss people off.

Account Sent to Collections for $3.96 Balance?
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

TAMPA, FLORIDA -- This is how the story goes. I've been a AMEX member since 1996, always paying the full balance when due, always!!! But, I decided to get their Costco AMEX because it made it easy for me to shop there. Within a month and a half of having this particular Amex, they notified me that my account was being cancelled (note I had never ever been late) and gave me too many reasons to list. So trying to make sense of it all, I called them to no avail. They said they would not re-instate the account.

So I continued to make my payments on time as always, until March of this year when I decided I did not want any more debt and paid the balance in FULL, even a little more so that it would take care of any interest the account could have accrued.

To my surprise and being sure I did not owe them a penny, I checked my account online, did not see any balance, so I dismissed the following statements (April), until a week ago I get a notification from a credit bureau letting me know that an account had reported me delinquent. Somehow, I knew, that it had to be American Express, so I got online and checked my account, and sure enough, there was a balance of $3.96 past due. Called them and they took care of it, denying they were the ones who had reported me late and therefore delinquent.

I just received a copy of my credit report, and what do I find out? That American Express, not only had reported my delinquent for $3.96, but that my cancelled account had been sent to the collections department (something they still deny). I tried to have them help me fix the situation with the credit bureau, and their answer was: since my account had been closed by them, that I would have to take care of it on my own. Once you are not a "member" anymore, you've fallen out of grace with them and you are treated poorly. Sad but true story.

Cancelled My American Express Card After 24 Years
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After 24 years of using my American Express card I ran into a dispute with one of their vendors, the end result of which left me completely frustrated, shocked and extremely disappointed with American Express's mishandling and complete lack of support and understanding of the horrendous incident which happened to me during a vacation. After 9 months of faxing them letters, receipts, and information about the incident (sometimes more than once because the AMEX supervisor I had to deal with kept losing them!), I hit a brick wall with them and realized sadly that they were not the same company they were when I first got my card back in 1985.

Over 24 years I have used my AMEX card all over the world on vacations and travel, and it all came to a grinding halt thanks to my dealings with a completely inept and myopic idiot of a customer service "supervisor" who goes by the mysterious alias of **. This "person" continually misunderstood the facts, did not follow up on information they requested me to send, and ultimately they proved unable to fully grasp what the situation was and continually ruled in favor of the vendor.

In some cases they got even the simplest facts wrong, such as the disputed amount, which card was used, etc (I have kept all my documentation which shows this). It was my desire to go to court with the vendor - instead, ** decided he or she would settle it instead, and in turn let the vendor use my American Express card as a shield to make sure they got paid & wouldn't have to answer for their negligence in court. Wrong!

It did not surprise me at all when I did a Google search about ** and found several other people who over the years have had had similar negative dealings with him or her that I did. What's most surprising to me is **'s managers apparently don't even care enough to check the internet to find out how this particular supervisor has been mistreating their customers and continually botching situation after situation over the years and hurting even their most loyal long term customers. I guess they are all too busy counting their money. Again, this is not the same company I joined back in 1985.

In the end, since I couldn't resolve the dispute with them, I simply refused to pay them, so naturally they've cancelled my card and have now resorted to besieging and harassing me with collection calls, which I guess they think is somehow going to suddenly convince me the vendor did nothing wrong to me and that the whole ugly incident that happened on my vacation was for some reason all my fault. Wrong again, American Express. Suffice it to say I will never again deal with AMEX and will let everyone I know exactly what happened to me and why the AMEX card is something they should avoid. Cheers...

American Express Unauthorized Multiple ACH Payments
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I have been a card member with Amex since 1997 in which time have spent over $14,000,000 on multiple platinum cards with the various companies I have owned and also had a $60,000 LOC from the banking Centurion arm, and despite never missing a payment and paying my accounts in full each month perfectly for 13 years have recently lost all faith and been a victim of fraud and theft by them.

Starting in Dec of 2009 and the registration of auto-pay (I had paid by phone the majority of the time in the past without any issues) they made one ACH withdrawal from my Acct the date the statement was due and a second two days later both the full amounts due as I had elected that option. As times are slow and the amount not that large I did not realize until I Rec my bank statement the first week in Jan. I now with a large balance coming lost faith and shut the auto pay off and made the min payment online in Jan.

Two days later again came the ACH request (mind you I also called to verify auto-pay was removed). This time though the funds were not avail. After calling Amex they assured me it was a error on their side, wrote me a letter apologizing only to attempt the again seven days later again putting my banking account in distress as the ACH is held as pending for 48 hours and meanwhile items posting are either returned or held to only be cleared after the ACH from Amex is returned. Of course they all have fees. This time I placed a stop on the amount although Amex promised it would not happen again - yeah well Bowman seven days later there it was.

In Feb I made my payment online without an issue other than it did not post as paid for 14 days due to what Amex says I had derogatory info and had a returned payment within the last 30 days. This at the time had no effect on my spending ability since the account had no preset limit. In March I received a letter stating they seer closing account due to recently returned payments (the ones I never made and they apologized for in a letter dated the day before) and what were the other 12 pages.

Try the same letter for 12 other people all much worse than mine with all their account numbers and info etc on them and personal info regarding bankruptcies etc. Anyone else had similar experience or know the best route to take.

Why American Express Will Never Recover
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I have been an Amex card member since 1987. At one time I had a Green, Gold, Platinum, Corporate, Blue and Optima. Over the years, I have cancelled the Blue and the Optima. Amex was once a prestige product but those days are long gone. There is nothing to differentiate them from any number of MasterCard or Visa products; nothing to warrant the high annual fees Amex charges. I pay my cards in full every month, yet, from day-to-day, it's a crap shoot if the cards will actually be approved for charges.

Moreover, since they decided to impose "limits" on these no spending limit cards, my credit score has been negatively impacted. The ratio between total open to buy and amount of credit used is a MAJOR part of the FICO score calculation. Within one month of Amex imposing a credit limit on my no-limit cards, my credit score dropped over 100 points!

I am in the process of relocating with my company and planned to sell my current home and buy a new one at my destination. Unfortunately, because of the damage to my credit score by Amex, I cannot qualify for a home loan/mortgage. Now, for the first time in my life, I have to rent an apartment while I work to pay off Amex so my ratio improves.

Other than my Corporate Card, which I am forced to use at work, as soon as I pay off Amex and get my home loan, I am cancelling all of my Amex cards, including my Platinum, and never going back. IMHO, I believe that MANY consumers will be doing the same thing. You simply can't change the rules of a long-term relationship like this and expect that you will be forgiven. Amex will never return to the powerhouse it once was because of stunts and strategies like this.

They Cancel the Card and Eating Up My Rewards for No Reason
By -

I opened Amex Costco Credit Card when I became a member of Costco. My credit score was 740+ and they readily approve the card with a $3000+ credit limit. My average balances were around 400-450 and paid in full all on time for each billing statement for 6 months. One day I swiped my card at a restaurant and card was declined. I paid with another card and called American Express on reaching home and they told your card was cancelled 5 days back. On asking the reason they stated, change in your credit score since you applied for a card and too many credit enquiries in last 2 years as per the report by Experian.

Next day I subscribed for Experian Credit report and my score was 730+, there was no missed payment on any cards and there were usual 3 enquiries, one by Amex when they opened my credit card and two other by rental screening companies as we moved to another state and changed our apartment after 6 months lease was over in one of the apartment.

I called Amex that "though I don't need your credit as my total credit line is above 8k on 3 different cards but still want to know what is the specific reason and I use this Card at many occasions including purchase at Costco." They told "We can not do anything and you can send a fax of your credit report." Done, did that, no response from them. I received my final statement after 2 weeks and they gave me travel rewards for one hotel booking and there were three flight tickets booked for $1850 for my family and no rewards for those, when I called them, they told "As your card is cancelled we are not giving those rewards."

**. My card was in good standing at the time of booking and I paid all the balances on time, this is your own decision to cancel and then you want to eat my cash reward also. I could have used my other cards and received 2% reward. When I searched on internet about this practice by Amex, I came to know it's common for them to eat the rewards. I really feel they are the biggest cheater in the Credit Card Industry and I am open if any one wants to initiate a formal complaint about them.

I don't know what to do, it's not a question of $50 or so cash back, it's a question of honesty and malpractice cheating with the customers. Now if I don't pay my balance they can charge my interest or can report to credit bureau, I wish if customer also have something like to do a complaint to a credit bureau and to any other court for companies like these. I am never going to go for this company and wish they vanish from the business soon.

Amex Optima Unjustified Interest Rate Hike
By -

After 26 years of being a faithful Amex customer I have made a decision to eliminate my revolving credit relationship with them on their Optima product. Like many who have posted complaints, I received a form letter in early August outlining an interest rate hike from 10.5% to about 15.5% effective Oct 1. I contacted them via phone first and got nowhere speaking to an unempowered customer service representative who was obviously reading a scripted response saying the decision was a "business decision."

I later wrote an email and got basically the same response with a little more detail. They alluded to the fact that the new credit card legislation was increasing their cost of doing business and they were passing that along to their (good) customers. Because I asked about "opting out" of the rate increase, they replied that they were not required to allow this by law until notices sent after August 20 (how convenient that this notice was dated August 5).

I have held accounts with Amex since 1983 and have never missed a single payment; my credit score was around 780 the last time I checked it, so I know it is not anything on my credit history that is driving this. Since I have the resources available to pay off my account and am already receiving more favorable offers from other banks; (even Bank of America and Citi are offering me better rates than Amex), I intend to end this relationship, and I am going to continue to look for other low interest card offers to replace this account.

I am going to stop awarding my business to a company who does not care about their relationship with a good customer, and I would urge others who have been treated similarly to do the same. The once prestigious Amex will ultimately degenerate into a company where all of the customers with good credit leave and they are left with only the deadbeats. We'll see how their business model survives (or not) once this all plays out in the competitive marketplace. Shorting Amex stock might be a good move now; this company is going downhill quickly.

American Express Liars
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I have seen a number of unhappy American Express Card holders and I would like to add my two cents. Before I begin I would like this forum to know that the head of American Express, Kenneth Chenault received $27,327,318.00 in compensation for 2008. How did he obtain this compensation? On the backs of hard working Americans who pay their bills while AMEX plays Russian Roulette with our credit scores.

I have been a cardholder since 1978. Presently I have a Platinum account, an account that charges high fees. What do I get for my money, a greedy CEO with an Executive staff of liars. I had a credit line of $34,000 with a balance of $28,000. I pay my bills on time. My line waas lowered to $29,000 making it look like I was maxed out, lowering my credit score. I paid my account down to $19,000. Guess what they lowered my limit to $19,500, maxed out again, lowering my score, again. I forget to mention that I was told both times that when I got my balance down AMEX would re-raise my limit. I don't want to charge more, just get my limit back.

The excuse given by AMEX Executive customer service? I had too much credit and a past due per Experian. I ran my Experian report, I have a total of three credit cards active, all paid on time and above my min required payment. My total balance are around $29,000. For my income I owe very little. My Experian report, no late accounts. When I called AMEX they stated they don't have the full report only a condensed version. I told them I had no lates on my report, who's report were they looking at?

These people are liars and incompetent. It's long time members like me who have kept this company going. I'm very tempted to tell them to stick my $19,000 balance, write a letter to the three reporting credit agencies and walk away because AMEX damaged my credit score. I know this sounds somewhat drastic and foolish but I really can't stand these wortless liars. God help us if Mr. Chenault doesn't make his 27 plus million in 2009. If anyone files a class action lawsuit for lowering our credit scores please let me know.

Another Disgruntled AMEX Customer
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I had three accounts with AMEX. Platinum business, blue for business and capital line. Currently, I use/process the cards to the tune of nearly $800,000 per year. No, never, ever been late on a payment. AMEX actually sends me yearly letters thanking me for my "significant" amount of spending. For my business platinum card, it made complete sense. Not only is easy to categorize purchases for accounting purposes, but the rewards program was second to none.

Of course, all this changed in November 2008 when AMEX decided to become a bank holding company. (Think Bear Stearns.) This is when the capital line program was eliminated. Of course, I was one of the foolish ones that actually believed that this credit line would be available during my slower business months. While I'm able to weather this poor decision by AMEX, there are tens of thousands of small businesses who have been severely crippled by this.

Fast forward to the past month. AMEX has lowered my limit on the blue card twice. (I've paid it off since and awaiting them to cancel the thing.) For my platinum card, the limit has been lowered to the average amount that I spend monthly (approx. 54k per month on the business card on a yearly average). For the record, last year at this time, my combined balances with this company were around 100k (and nobody blinked an eye). The irony here that I called last year and the representative who greeted me stated "Wow, this is a nice account you have with us."

In the past, the customer service was nothing short of phenomenal. Now? It seems that the 11000+ people that have lost their jobs with this company are the ones who were responsible for this being a formerly great company.

I'm through fighting with American Express. They've made it clear that they do not wish to continue with their business with me. My business (fortunately) has seen decent growth over the past several years. After analyzing my merchant account, it appears that usage of AMEX cards has decreased a full 20%. Not only that, but the average transaction per card is now much closer to the Visa/MC average than it ever has been. While the higher discount rate (3.5%) for my merchant account used to be worth it, those days are becoming numbered.

Quite frankly, I'm not sure what this means by the actions of this company. I do know, however, that my business has been cutting back its use on the card and I am sincerely considering to stop accepting the card entirely.

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American Express Rating:
Star Half star Empty star Empty star Empty star
1.3 out of 5, based on 33 ratings and
246 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
American Express
World Financial Center, 200 Vesey Street
New York, NY 10285
212-640-2000 (ph)
212-619-9802 (fax)
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