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.
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 mim 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.
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 it's use on the card and I am sincerely considering to stop accepting the card entirely.
Here is the letter I sent to a reporter who had an article about American Express' bizarre credit decisions. In addition, I just received a letter that the cancellation could have a negative impact on my credit report. How can that be when I have always been an excellent customer for them? I would happily join in a class action lawsuit. Sign me up.
Thank you for the article on American Express. My card was canceled today. I am baffled. I have been a member for 7 years, during which time, they started me at $500 credit line. They quickly moved me to $5,000 and then $10,000 where I have been for the past 7 years. I typically run about $5,000 to $10,000 per month on it paying it in full all the time. I never had a late payment or any issue with them. They were definitely my favorite card to work with.
In November of 08, they cut me to 5k with no warning saying that they check credit reports monthly. Then in December, they cut me to $500. Of course, both cuts were when I had paid the balance down, so in essence, they took operating capital from my small business. Losing the $10,000 of operating room in a 60 day period hurt pretty bad. Then I lived with the frustration of a $500 line. I would have closed it myself, except that I have become dependent on the Hilton Honors points as a part of my business travel budget. I was having to really work it to get the $500 credit line to work with the $20k I needed to keep gold point status. I began paying it off every other day and then using it in smaller chunks. I had several conversations with the reps saying that $500 didn't get me through a weekend of travel or even allow me to book most air tickets.
Then yesterday, they canceled me completely. Again, I asked them why. Since I had checked my credit report in December when they did the first cuts, I had a comparison base. When I checked it today, my outstanding overall debt had gone down by about $8k in the past 4 months. My credit score had increased 70 points. There were no marks against me except I accidentally went $2 over my credit limit on my smallest visa card this month and quickly got it back below the limit (I had paid it in full at the beginning of the monthly cycle), so I had a possible negative alert that I had gone $2 over a limit for a few days on a different card. That was the only thing I saw that might have triggered their models.
I have some inside insight as I used to build credit and marketing models for USAA and Bank of America. I truly think some JUNIOR analyst at Amex has built a very short sighted and limited scope credit model. The big question is, why is American Express management not seeing that it will run them into the ground very quickly? I found another article that said that their Q1 profit was down 56%. I had a perfect payment history running between 5k and 10k a month through their system at a 4.5% merchant fee per transaction. Did they really think I was at risk of missing a $15 a month minimum payment? That is $180 per year. I made an online or phone payment several times a week of whatever they would let me pay when they dropped me to $500 (trying to maintain my $20,000 per year gold point status means I had to pay off the $500 40 times in a year) .
It would have been virtually impossible for me to miss the $15 monthly minimum payment. And when they dropped me to $500, how big was their risk? Are they cutting risk, or destroying their profit base? I vote for the later. I am 41 and WAS a very loyal Amex customer with decades of high dollar spending left in me.
American Express canceled my Rewards Plus account a couple of weeks ago and seemingly zapped out my 51,000 rewards points (51,000 Delta miles or other possible rewards). I was really bummed until I read the following:
American Express Changes Membership Rewards Policy
By Kevin Gipson, New Orleans Consumer Attorney on Mar 31, 2009 in Credit Cards
American Express has announced a policy change regarding its Membership Rewards program.
The policy change permits a cardholder that is in good standing at the time that his card is cancelled to redeem his Membership Rewards points for up to 90 days following the cancellation of his card.
American Express did not define what the term good standing meant, but did state the change in policy was due to its recent decision to cancel the cards of members who were current on their payments but that were considered to be a credit risk.
Before this policy change, if an American Express card was cancelled for any reason, the Membership Reward points were lost.
American Express also announced its intention to honor cash-rebate cards.
If the customer has an outstanding balance on his account, then the cash-rebate will be applied to the balance. If the balance is less than the cash-rebate, American Express will issue a check for the balance to the customer.
Finally, American Express said customers who had their cards canceled recently, but before the policy change, can contact American Express Membership Rewards customer service for a case by case decision on whether the customer will be permitted to redeem the points.
I called and they instantly credited my Delta Sky Miles account for 51,000 miles. So I'm satisfied - They can give or deny credit to me - it's their money - but they can't take away points/miles I've already earned. That would be plain wrong. I'll take the miles and take my business elsewhere.
I just wanted to make sure anyone e4lse who has this happen makes sure to claim their miles with the rewards program asap!
I have had an AmEx Starwood card for several years, with a limit of $50K and a balance that went between $40 and $50K each month (average spend about $7K per month, mostly travel related).
Prior to taking a vacation trip, I paid down the AmEx by $25K since I knew I had a lot of expenses coming and I didn't want to worry about the limit.
A week later, as I'm sitting in Chicago on my way to London, I'm making some travel arrangements for May on my laptop and a ticket gets declined.
Turns out AmEx reduced my limit from $50K to $28K, knocking my available credit from $23K to $563. No notice, on a Friday night at 9pm before Easter weekend, week before taxes are due.
Called customer "service" ... nothing they can do, I have a lot of debt, yada, yada. I have a perfect payment history, with them and everyone else, and while I have a lot of debt I have no more debt than I did 1, 2 or 3 years ago when they gave me the limit in the first place. Note, I had just paid the balance down from $48K to $24K, not sure how that makes me seem like a high risk.
So, 45 minutes to board the flight to London, trying to figure out whether I can afford to go since I don't have another card in my wallet with enough available credit to deal with things.
I won't go into *all* the reasons why this is lame, but here are some: (1) creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, lower limits on people and their credit scores go down so they must be "bad risks"; (2) timing has the potential to royally screw people, you could be traveling, you could be about to pay your taxes, all sorts of things, but now you're stuck; (3) creates a frozen credit market ... I'm afraid to pay down the balance more to use the card, because I might do so and have the funds evaporate. In this state, why use credit cards at all, if you can't rely on payments to be available the next day you might as well just use cash for everything.
I was going to keep the account open and work around the limit, but the customer service person I called from London was so irritating I just closed the account. Had to change maybe 20 things that automatically charge it, and have my office FedEx me a credit card from my desk drawer. Spent the first two days of my vacation dealing with this crap, but now I am AmEx-free and when I get back my company will be as well.
AmEx is pure evil, treats their customers with complete contempt, and if there is any justice will go down in flames as people abandon them in droves. The only reason to deal with a financial company is because you trust them, once you lose trust that they will act rationally, ethically or even just not be evil, you can't and shouldn't do business with them.
They were, however, "sorry for the inconvenience" ... although their capricious and arbitrary decision was the only reason that the inconvenience existed in the first place.
American Express USED TO BE A GREAT COMPANY. Lately-- I've had to report them to the FTC and am about to report them to other banking and credit agencies as well. Why?
For several months, they have been advertising (with multiple fliers in the mail, at least two times monthly) -- suggesting I accept an offer (due my great credit history and scores) to accept terms to 'carry-over monthly balances over $100). After much disregard, I finally accepted, after agreeing to open a secondary account with AMEX in light of the 'new' FICO scoring system this year. (the second card was not mandatory, it was for purposes of 'spreading' out available credit to debt for several types of business charges as required with my profession and privately owned business.)
Low and behold-- within 2 months of owning the secondary card-- the 'offer' they gave me was rejected with a simple letter stating I was a credit risk because there were too many inquiries on my credit report (only 3 in 6 months (2) of which was by American Express for the second card, and to see if I still 'qualified' under their creditsecure program, which I also happened to accept at the beginning of the year). Not only that, they had already reduced my 'no preset limit' option internally with a $20K limit that I had to coax a nicer representative into disclosing (they were not supposed to disclose the amount to me. Previously, I was truly not under a set limit.)
Worse yet when the second payment for the second card came due-- I sent payments for BOTH accounts to the SAME bill payment receivables address in ONE envelope. There is NO stipulation by AMEX under any circumstances-- that we cannot send payments in one envelope. They also state they support green and other environmental programs-- so I assumed saving an envelope and stamp would be fine.
The following week, while checking my balances-- I noticed the second card bill was 'unpaid' and almost overdue. They were NOT going to notify me until it was later. I immediately called to find out what happened-- as they had already cashed the check for the other account payment (both were 'overpayments' to cover new charges as well.)
I was informed the check was destroyed because it was in with another check in ONE envelope. I was told if I did not pay again, immediately-- (my responsibility, not theirs, of course) I would be penalized. So they suggest electronic payment.
I am with a credit union for 'real' banking so I requested AMEX notify me if the routing transaction did not go through correctly on the first try.
An entire business week later I find out AMEX has suspended ALL of my cards, and I am about to be penalized for their ineptitudes because they did NOT notify me about the payment not going through. They claim it was because they found out after hours on the Friday night. However-- they have 24/7 customer service. Instead of alerting me, per request they put a 'stop transaction' motion on ALL my AMEX cards. (Even though they still have $50 additional overpayment on the primary card.)
They also erased the fact that they lost the original payment on the second card from my records (since they claim they don't have proof.)
I worked hard to have an extremely high credit score. NOW-- AMEX is about to destroy it because I trusted them.
This complaint will be posted on every possible consumer notice and federal trade notice site I can locate, as I am not willing to be a casualty in the credit scams and fall outs that obviously has affected AMEX more than they are willing to admit. AMEX ALSO REPORTED TO THE MEDIA AND THE FEDERAL AND STOCK BOARDS THEY WERE TIGHTENING UP THEIR STRUCTURE BECAUSE CUSTOMERS WERE HAVING TROUBLE PAYING LAST MONTH.
I wonder what the truth is THEIR FAULTY MAIL RECEIVING PROGRAM AND LACK OF WARNINGS AND DISCLOSURE REGARDING SUCH, OR THEIR REFUSAL TO WORK WITH CUSTOMERS IN A FAIR AND HONORABLE MANNER?????
The listed email may or may not work for the current listed CEO of the company. His salary is publicly reported as $7.36MIL, with multiple bonuses. The other corporate managers who manager all of AMEX decisions are also listed, along with their salaries at:
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- All,
If you have an American Express card read this with a personal interest. I had been the recipient of a hugh rip-off by them. After 10 or so years of an American Express account, in October, or there about, we got a letter from American Express that my previously very high limit was being reduced to around $1200. We have had this account since around 1996 or so and used it for all our monthly purchases. We bought gas, groceries, medicines, etc on the card. We purchased it through Costco in Kennesaw, GA. The reason we got it was due to a 2% bonus on purchases and every year we enjoyed a couple of hundred dollars in returns on that card.
When we got the 'letter' we were shocked. We always paid on time, never carrying over a balance. The monthly amounts were always around $1500 to $2000 as that was our budget and let me tell you, my wife always follows her plan. Well, why did this occur, what was it about because the excuses they had were bull, so, why? Then we had an epiphany. Was it BECAUSE we always paid the account? Maybe they wanted to get the interest we never paid. Well, it was a thought and worth a question to American Express. So I called and spoke to an agent of American Express and we discussed how the account was valuable to me at the amount I had but not at this new level. The agent I spoke to was at first very nice and put me on hold to check out the account. After a few minutes after placing me on hold, he changed 180 degrees and suggested if I couldn't use the account at the level as adjusted, then I should just close the account. There was nothing that American Express could do about the 'adjustment'. We broke our communication at that point and I thought long and hard about the turn of events.
After discussion with my wife and allowing a couple of days of cool down time I called back again and asked for management instead of just a phone customer service agent. This person was even less helpful than the first, basically being pretty aggressive and telling us we had no recourse. When I told her after all the years I would have to close the account if after ten years of paying early but ALWAYS on-time this was the 'new' American Express. Their comment was something like "I think that would be best".
My wife and I just thought that they were cutting those who never carried balances and owed those ridiculous interest rates. What really happened and what transpired over the next several months indicates to me a more sinister picture right up there with the rest of Wall Street.
As you know, American Express received $3.389 Billion in bailout on January 9th. In my most humble opinion this just proved my theory of their 'cutting their losses'. But let's look at what else they're receiving.
In December or January I contacted the American Express Customer Service office and talked to a very helpful agent this time. I had a credit I needed returned and I asked when and how I would get my rebate owed on my Costco. He told me a closed account wouldn't get that rebate and since that new fact wasn't disclosed he would re-open the account and I'd receive $201 in February. February came and went so I contacted them again. Wow, what a change this time. I was told the account was not reopened. A fact I was never informed of and one that without a letter of notification is in noncompliance with federal fair credit laws. I was told the rebate was considered a 'reward' that if I saw it as earned at the point of each purchase, they considered it to be a reward earned at their convenience and discretion.
That they did not have to disclose their policy of not paying it at the time of the credit limit reduction. That they closed my account, I guess before I had made that second call, though how this occurred and how I was never informed of this is beyond me. That the matter was closed.
I have since sent to their Home Office a Ten-day letter of demand and decided to contact you, too. My fellow hard working American Taxpayers having to bail out these people and then endure further money looses earned but kept by them such as this need to be made known. I hope you print this, look into these companies in more detail and show us, the American Taxpayer that it doesn't just affect Wall Street. They are taking from us on Main Street as well.
I am most respectfully yours,
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- As loyal customers of over eight years with American Express, my spouse and I write to complain on their disinterest in retaining us. I spoke with a customer service agent on 3/15/2015 about a balance payment I scheduled on that day to prevent the accrual of interest charges. The agent assured me that American Express will not charge interest since I had made a good-faith effort to pay the balance, and issued a confirmation number. However, the statement on 3/18/2015 showed an interest charge, and when I called customer service again on 3/22/2015, both the agent and the agent's supervisor insisted that they will not honor the prior agent's assurance. When I asked the supervisor to include a note that "...my continued business with American Express will depend on the company's willingness to accommodate requests by longstanding customers..." she instead explained the contract document to me.
I am hopeful that, as a company dedicated to retaining existing customers, they would (1) alert customer service to avoid a defensive communication style with customers; (2) allow the billing/customer service departments to waive interest charges in especial cases; and (3) ensure that customer service agents honor prior commitments. I also note, that in my nine years as a customer, this amounts to the first instance I accrued an interest charge.
I had been with my company for 8 years before a recent layoff. American Express was the our company card provided. That will be the last time I EVER have a card through Amex. Received a phone call out of the blue yesterday from an extremely rude customer representative that was out right harassing! I used my card almost daily for the last 8 years and now there is a balance due that was not taken care of by my company.
I called today, to take care of the balance and tried to discuss my fees and was told it was my fault and nothing could be done. I understand if I was trying to get out of something but I was trying to get an explanation and was made to feel like an idiot. My credit score is over 750 so it's not like I don't pay my bills. This was the worst experience I have ever had with ANY company. I will tell any one I know to get rid of their Amex cards. They are terrible to work with!