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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?

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Consumer Tips provided by American Express
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I recently found that American Express has a webpage with tips for individuals applying for a credit card. I found this information very much in line with much of the feedback provided on this site, and wanted to share it: "BE SMART ABOUT CREDIT - 10 Tips for Making the Most of Your American Express Card.

  1. Choose the Card that's right for you. Think about the features that are important to you so you don't pay for features you won't use. Consider fees, rewards and interest rates. We offer a choice of products designed to meet specific customer needs, from charge cards with rich rewards, no pre-set spending limits and annual fees, to credit cards with no fees at all.

  2. Take the time to understand your terms and conditions. By signing up for a Card, you agree to adhere to the terms of the account. If you don't, there are penalties. This ensures that customers who adhere to the terms of their account aren't subsidizing those who don't.

  3. Pay your bill on time to avoid late fees and higher interest rates. Paying late can be costly. Note your payment due date. You should also know that American Express will not raise your interest rate or assess fees based on your payment history with other companies.

  4. Make payments electronically or by phone, free of charge. It's fast and avoids the time and expense of mail. Sign Up to Pay Your Bill Online. (Note: You'll be prompted to log in to your account first.)

  5. Pay more than the minimum due to pay off your balance more quickly and reduce interest charges. By paying only the minimum due every month you will add to the amount of interest you pay over time. This means you'll end up paying more for your purchases.

  6. Pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date to take advantage of an interest-free grace period on purchases. Unlike cash or debit cards, using a credit card to make purchases and paying your balance in full each month gives you an interest-free, unsecured loan.

  7. Use free alerts to manage your accounts via e-mail or phone. You can sign up for alerts to let you know your payment due date, that your payment has been received, if there is irregular activity on your account, to provide an update on your balance, and to track spending. Sign Up for Account Alerts (Note: You'll be prompted to log in to your account first.) You can also sign up to receive your statement online as soon as it's issued – free of charge. Sign Up for Online Statements (Note: You'll be prompted to log in to your account first.)

  8. Know your credit limit and don't exceed it to avoid over-limit fees and higher interest rates. (See above tip to sign up for alerts to let you know when you are nearing your credit limit.) Over-limit fees and default-tier interest rates will add to the total amount you end up paying for purchases.

  9. Know the terms of special offers. Balance transfers and introductory offers can come with lower interest rates for a set period of time. Payments you make while taking advantage of low-rate offers will first be applied to balances carrying the lowest rates.

  10. Rest assured that you are never liable for fraudulent charges on your statement. You can check your bill online for additional detail on any charges you don't recognize. Then, simply contact us if you notice any unauthorized charges. Log In to Your Account."

I do have an AMEX card, and use it for almost all of my normal purchases. I have to say I find them to be an extraordinary company to deal with, in all of my dealings. Just wanted to share this with others out there.

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Poor Customer Service
StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 2/51

CALIFORNIA -- American express is a scam. They sold me on mileage and travel saying if I spent 5k it would pay for a flight to Vegas and after spending over $5,000 they are only crediting me a $14 discount. Not worth your time or money. Any bank card will give you a better deal. I have been trying to cancel my card for an hour on the phone and they have hung up on me 3 times.

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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.

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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.

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Cancelled My American Express Card After 24 Years
By -

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...

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American Express Unauthorized Multiple ACH Payments
By -

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.

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Why American Express Will Never Recover
By -

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.

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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.

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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.

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American Express Rating:
Star Half star Empty star Empty star Empty star
1.3 out of 5, based on 31 ratings and
245 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
American Express
World Financial Center, 200 Vesey Street
New York, NY 10285
212-640-2000 (ph)
212-619-9802 (fax)
www.americanexpress.com
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