American Express Informative - Accepted By The Office Shredder Everywhere
WAYCROSS, GEORGIA -- I had an American Express card for 7 years-never missed a payment, never late. I decided to take my wife's family to a fancy restaurant in Savannah. I filled up the car at the gas station and the card was accepted. On we went to our meal. In the two hours it took us to get to Savannah, get seated, enjoy our meal, and get the bill Amex put a freeze on my card. There are, of course, other means of paying for a meal and I assumed that this was just some mistake.
I spent the next two days calling the Amex "help line." After being repeatedly told that "I'm sorry but our computers are down so we can't tell you what is happening with your account" I finally got through to Mujabar.
Every American knows Mujabar. He's that guy in Bombay who speaks pidgen English. Mujabar informed me that "verry sorry, but we haff found bad debt on your record." Mujabar couldn't tell me who claimed I owed them money (in fact, to this day, American Express hasn't been able to tell me who is making this claim) but helpfully suggested that he could unfreeze the card to pay this debt, whatever it was, in whatever amount, and to whomever was claiming it.
I told American Express to cancel my card immediately and paid them their balance.
About a week later I received a letter from Amex saying that my credit with them had been reduced to $5,000.00. Really? My balance at the time of the cancellation was about $3,000.00, so why the immediate freeze? Their letter followed their card into the shredder.
A few more days later Amex sent me a new card which excitedly proclaimed "activate your new card immediately! We'll put the $150.00 activation charge on your account!" Let's see-first, what makes Amex think that unilaterally freezing my account with no warning might be a way to inspire me to continue doing business with them? Second, since they froze my account, how can I charge $150.00 on it? Wouldn't that somehow cause me to go over their cap? Third, when the hell did Amex come to believe it was empowered to collect debts for third parties that it couldn't even identify to their customer? Do they really think that someone is going to pay a $150.00 activation feel for the privilege of carrying a multi-colored ice scrapper?
Yep, American Express-accepted by office shredders everywhere. For everything else there's Master Card.