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American Express Unauthorized Multiple ACH Payments
Posted by on
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 off 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.
     
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tnchuck100 on 10/05/2010:
American Express has definitely gone down the toilet. This is about the worst case I have read. I would love to know what they had to say about sending you cancellation letters (and all that personal info) for the 12 other victims.

Have they damaged your reputation with your other business relationships? If so I would consider suing them since this is 100% their incompetence that has caused this.
rjgatot on 10/06/2010:
They have destroyed it as my bank failed and was closed by the FDIC the same day I had the first of the many in the past three months. I knew it was possible so I was already attempting to replace my line of credit at chase as my business has more than doubled it's revenue this year. Needless to say it halted that and also will defimatly cause my other lines and loans to be called. I already had my accounts closed at BOA e second most incompetent company out there. These companies are too big too fast and. So disassociated and departmentalized they have no idea what the other is doing I mean I owe BOA millions and they close my deposit accounts due to two returned checks that the funds were in the other bank until amex snagged them. I have a great case with all the letters the dummies wrote admitting fault. Then the best is the ones that violate ever section of the privacy act and I am almost positive that mrs. Frost will settle out of court. The damages are almost incalculable as I am bonded and this time of year the bond company asks for three months bank statements needless to say I can't submit teem for three more months causing a six month revenue gap next year. I am sure it os not over and they will continue proving their ineptness
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American Express Open Small Business is a Personal Account
Posted by on
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. Manheim" 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. The 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.
     
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localgod on 01/06/2010:
"Shame on American Express. The only way to beat their rigged game is to not play it at all." I agree, but the credit report hit would affect both your business and your personal credit score. In hindsight, your actions, although good for AMEX, were your best course of action. Thank you for sharing your experience, hopefully others can be forewarned.
Hugh_Jorgen on 01/07/2010:
If you had paid your attorney to read this before you signed the agreement, you would have seen this in the terms and conditions.

My employer offers us corporate AMEX cards for travel, but they and AMEX make it clear that ultimately we are personally responsible for the balance on our cards. That protects the company two ways - expense accounts get turned in on time so you get your $$$ before the bill is due, and the company is protected against an employee that decides to have a shopping spree right before they quit.
convoyduel on 01/07/2010:
No, nothing was signed as individuals except for the individual charge receipts at the point of purchase. The original application was signed by my wife as President of the company (51% owner). My card was assigned as the "primary" card because it was listed first on the list of cardholders. Everyone was listed in alphabetical order and mine came first in that order. The "Change in Conditions" was part of a welcome packet sent to each cardholder. Buried in the language was a change in account that made the account an individual account upon making a charge with the card. Despite this Statements came in the company name to the company address. I'm aware of the traditional green AMEX company expense account cards. Yes, those are very clear that they are personal cards. This was the OPEN for Small Business Gold card. Even our attorney, who has dealt with these type of cases before, was very surprised by the language and the nature of the shell game. The application was very specific in its solicitation of the business that this was a business account solicited on the credit history of the business.

As far as keeping the company off the hook for unauthorized charges, that is not the case. One of the cards was used by an employee to charge over $1000 worth of groceries, gas and other personal charges in the last day he had the card. AMEX refused to hold the employee accountable and stated that it was a civil matter between us and him. They held the charges to the linked account.

To prevent this with an attorney, I would have had to pay an attorney to read any and every mailing I received from AMEX. Even with that, the attorney confirmed that there was still nothing in ANY written notice that authorized AMEX to change the interest rate without our account being late. Our only solution was to take the issue to court, but the cost to fight everything easily exceeded the cost to simply settle the account, and I am sure that's what AMEX banks on. My wife and I have EXCELLENT credit and have worked very hard to keep it that way. Ultimately, the AMEX settlement on our credit report does not appear to have affected our score. It remains above 800.

Should I have had an attorney read everything? In a perfect world, yes. I take responsibility for my part, that is why I wanted to pay off the account, but their unreasonable changes in interest rates made paying it down on time an impossibility. When I contacted them (I CALLED THEM!!!) to settle the account, AMEX ratcheted up the game (reread what I posted). If someone owes me money and a person calls me up to try to pay me, they have my full attention. I don't start making their life miserable without cause.

In the end, the "Small Business" account is an absolute sham. It has nothing to do with the business, its a personal card and anyone would be a TOTAL FOOL to open a personal card for a business. Not only that, but the tactics that AMEX employs against people who are in good standing and want to pay off an account are unethical. I can't imagine what they due to people that can't or won't pay. "OPEN for Small Business" should be very explicit up front so that applicants and employees can make the informed decision to decline this misleading and deceptive product.
B2theP on 01/08/2010:
"Corporate" cards are different from OPEN accounts. My understanding of the open account is that there is "joint" liability. Meaning the business and the signer are both guarenteeing the account when it is opened... I believe that corporate accounts can be set up a number of ways, with a personal or corporate guarantee or both. I think convoy must be mistaken about something too.
If his wife is the signer on the account there is no way he could be the primary cardholder. He may be an authorized user with account management privileges but ultimately his wife would be responsible for the account.
Something sounds amiss here. The story doesn't quite mesh with what I know about amex...
convoyduel on 01/09/2010:
B2theP,

I agree with you wholeheartedly. It doesn't sound right to me either, and I was knee deep in the middle of it. There was nothing in the Cardholder Agreement that allowed for interest rates to be adjusted without cause on an account that was never late nor otherwise outside of the terms in any way. We also remain unclear as to why they assigned a settlement to me, unless it was because I was the one who called.

In this economy of bailouts and defaults, it is disheartening to contact them proactively to payoff an account in lump sum as part of a mutual agreement then have the other party act in such a vindictive way after the fact. I certainly take responsibility for my lack of due dilligence.

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Why American Express Will Never Recover
Posted by on
I have been an Amex cardmember 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 differeniate 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 foregiven. Amex will never return to the powerhouse it once was because of stunts and stratigies like this.
     
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Anonymous on 11/19/2009:
That sucks, but it is exactly what Amex wants you to do. They want you and many others, "off of their books" so that they don't look like they have too much available credit out there. They don't care at all about how getting you off of their books affects your life.
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They cancel the card and eating up my rewards for no reason
Posted by on
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 you 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, wt* 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 if 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.
     
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Anonymous on 10/28/2009:
If they want to cancel your credit line they can. They are not obligated to give credit to anyone.
Anonymous on 10/28/2009:
I agree with JTF, but I would add that in cases like this, I think they should be required to automatically send you gift cards in the amount of the points you had when they closed the account.
AmericanExIsCheater on 10/29/2009:
I have no complaints on their decision to cancel the credit card but the timing of cancellation when I was due for travel rewards, way it was handled without notification call or email or letter, the reason they gave, but fine let’s ignore that and that is also acceptable. But why to deny the rewards, I have $22xx in my last statement, that I will pay and I am expected to pay, but why can't they pay the rewards earned. Only the big amount reward they are not paying, while 3 % on $110.xx for gas rewards they are paying, so that goes against the assumption that for a cancelled card, they won't honor the rewards. It’s up to them whatever they want to do?
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Amex Optima unjustified interest rate hike
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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.
     
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MSCANTBEWRONG on 08/19/2009:
BOA and CITI aren't going to do you any favors either. Credit unions appear to be the best solution lately.
amexcustomer26 on 08/19/2009:
MSCANT....I agree with you, the point was to illustrate that even the other big banks (who are also gouging their customers) are more competitive than Amex. Amex is moving to the bottom of the competitive set very quickly.
MSCANTBEWRONG on 08/19/2009:
very true amex...
PepperElf on 08/19/2009:
or just not using credit
MSCANTBEWRONG on 08/19/2009:
I agree Pepper...I don't buy anything on credit anymore. Every time I go shopping all stores are asking me to put my purchases on their credit card...it's ridiculous. If I can't pay cash, I don't need it.
DebtorBasher on 08/19/2009:
I don't even own a credit card anymore and with the way they are treating their customers, I'm glad I don't. I only use my bank's debit card...I'll have my Mom's credit card paid of in just a few more months, she only had one.
Anonymous on 08/19/2009:
Great answer, MsCant. Credit unions are the way to go. DB, I would only have my debit card too, but I don't trust rental car companies to have open ended access to the card. Same goes for other businesses. It's easier to dispute a charge on a credit card and there are no risk for overdraft fee's if company erroneously posts charges.
DebtorBasher on 08/19/2009:
My Debit card can be used as Credit or debit...it's through our bank but has the MasterCard logo...so, I use it as a credit for certain things.
MSCANTBEWRONG on 08/19/2009:
me too DB...depends on what I'm purchasing.
Anonymous on 08/19/2009:
Right, but check the procedures for disputing a charge. They don't (or at least they didn't) work the same way for debit/check cards as they do for traditional credit cards.
DebtorBasher on 08/19/2009:
I'll soon find out for the first time John...because I'm about to dispute a $115.00 charge for a purchase I bought that was defective, and the company I bought it from isn't responding to my Emails.
DebtorBasher on 08/19/2009:
I like that I can get cash at most stores when I make a purchase, instead of going to the ATM.
Anonymous on 08/19/2009:
Oh that totally sucks DB. Let us know how it turns out. I am really curious of it is a more customer friendly process. I am hopeful that it is! That would be a great thing for everyone.
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American Express Liars
Posted by on
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.
     
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Skye on 08/07/2009:
A $28,000.00 balance?? They did you a favor by reducing your credit limit.
NofriendofAX on 08/07/2009:
I was a victim of this "new" policy. When times were good, they were extending credit. Now that times are bad they are taking it away from those who made American Express what it is today. I for one will NEVER carry that card in my wallet again.
Anonymous on 08/07/2009:
They are lowering your limit because they think you are overextended, to protect themselves. If your positions were reversed, wouldn't you be doing the same? If this really bothers you, open new cards elsewhere and increase your available credit again. They aren't the only dog in the fight.
Skye on 08/07/2009:
Bravo Ken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous on 08/07/2009:
I don't want to put words into the person making this posts mouth, but I think a lot of it has to do with communication. American Express really has not learned anything from all of the complaints they have recently received. Honest communication about what AmEx is doing wouldn't necessarily fix the situation but it would seem less like they are being underhanded. The same thing (on a much smaller scale) happened to me. We aren't here to judge the OP for their balance vs. their credit limit. That's between the credit issuer and the account holder. He/she came here to voice their displeasure about the company and how their actions affected a consumer and his credit report. From the looks of the complaint, he handled his account properly and if Amex was worried about the amount of credit issued they should have thought about that before they put the line into effect and if a change was required, make the appropriate communication to the customer.
Anonymous on 08/07/2009:
What you say is true John, but it's no secret that AMEX is becoming a bank and as such has to reduce outstanding credit. With that in mind, what do you suppose would happen if they notified people in advance that they were lowering limits? There is no way to make it pretty, but it needs to be done, and the other big players are all starting to do it too.
Dimitri on 02/23/2012:
You have to put everything in context.

Yes, American Express lowered the credit lines of a lot of customers between 2009 and 2010. They did this in response to our economic crash and their decision, while uncomfortable for many customers, was the only responsible and logical choice they had.

Believe me, I understand the effect this policy had on your credit report. They did the same thing to me at that time and my credit suffered too. The credit limit on our business card was over $150,000 before they reduced it to $50,000 without any notice after we made a couple of large payments. This hurt and temporarily put our business in jeopardy from a cash flow management perspective, but I don't blame them for doing it and harbor no ill will toward them for it.

They did what they had to due to protect themselves from a large number of customers defaulting on their payments. After seeing a company like Lheman Brothers go down they assumed anything could happen and took preventive measures.

Fast forward just a couple of years and Amex is doing extremely well. My business survived, and our credit limits were gradually raised back to normal levels over that time.

I have had an excellent experience with Amex overall and I trust them over every other card company. I respect them for what they did and if I were in their position I would hope that I would have had the foresight to have done the same thing and prevent major damage to the company.
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Another disgruntled AMEX customer
Posted by on
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.
     
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Soaring Consumer on 05/26/2009:
To stop accepting the card makes for good payback.

Voted helpful. Indeed you are one of the lucky ones that are able to manage without them.
ejack053824 on 05/26/2009:
Very helpful!!! The Officer's Club here at MacDill AFB no longer takes AMEX now.
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AmEx fails to consider profitability and lifetime value
Posted by on
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.

Hi David,

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.
     
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ejack053824 on 05/06/2009:
Your not the only card holder whose AMEX card has been cancelled for no reason whatsoever. I've mentioned before I had an AMEX and I voluntarily cancelled mine and told them to kiss it due to the way they were treating other members here in M3C.

Don't you worry..them doing this will come back and bite them in the ass when the economy recovers. People will remember..at least I will.
Soaring Consumer on 05/06/2009:
Voted helpful. This is why I turned them down.
ejack053824 on 05/06/2009:
I agree..very helpful.
AMEXBS on 05/07/2009:
American Express is rapidly losing any remaining credibility with not only its small business cardholders who provide significant profit to the company, but also its merchants who have been accepting this card due to customer demand. As this demand dwindles, so does the 4.5% they make which could lead to a death spiral for their credit card business. They only other recourse is to offer large credit again to nearly every American over the age of two years and to cut their merchant fees, either way they may be ROADKILL!
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Make Sure To Get You Rewards Points If They Cancel Your Account!
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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!
     
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grandma005 on 05/02/2009:
I voted this very helpful.
Anonymous on 05/02/2009:
And it shows!...
Ponie on 05/02/2009:
A very helpful heads up, heisan. My Sis is thinking about a new car and she's concerned something similar may take place which would make them lose the large collection of points they have on their GM accounts. With their luck, she's probably right. One of their cars is an Olds. :)
Patrick on 06/29/2012:
Never a late payment but they took my points and cancelled my account due to my credit score (student loans). :(
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Credit Limit Reduced W/ No Notice - Stranded In Europe With No Credit Card
Posted by on
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.
     
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Soaring Consumer on 04/12/2009:
This is exactly why nobody should trust AMEX. They are just the embarrassment of the industry and leave people to suffer dire consequences and heavy suffering through no fault of their own.

Voted helpful. It is reviews like this that convinced me to turn down a card offer from them the other month.
Anonymous on 04/12/2009:
I could tell you that it is happening to everyone etc., but that is hardly the point here. I'm starting to get the feeling that Amex is going after people who make payments. I doubt that they would have lowered your limit had you kept your balance at $48K, but by paying it down over $20K you can became a less attractive customer. Unfortunate start to your holiday, but at least you are now Amex free!
ejack053824 on 04/12/2009:
AMEX can kiss my rear end. I'm glad I voluntarily gave mine up!
spiderman2 on 04/12/2009:
Not that they did was right, but why in the world would have carry 48K in credit card debt if you can afford to pay down 24K at a time?
andrewr on 04/13/2009:
As I said, I have a lot of debt, and I manage it so that the highest interest rate is paid off first. I'm not inclined to go into all the reasons, but my income is good, FICO score is decent, no late payments of any kind, my only negative is a lot of debt (but essentially constant for the last several years). I paid down $24K largely because I expected to use that much in the next couple of months.
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