BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA -- I have been a customer with AMEX for the past three years. I have always paid on time and never went over the credit limit. I have several other major credit cards and always pay them on time and in full every month. I used my AMEX for monthly, automated payments and was surprised when a payment came back declined. The payment was declined on January 16, 2009. I checked my mail that day and happened to find a letter from AMEX stating (which by the way was dated on January 13, 2009):
"Dear (Name): We are writing to inform you that, after a recent review, your American Express account listed above has been canceled. The short length of time you have been on file with a consumer reporting agency, in relation to your overall credit profile. Too many creditors have recently reviewed your credit report. You have been past due on an American Express account in the last 12 months.
Your account was reviewed using a consumer credit scoring system that evaluated the information in your file at the consumer reporting agency named below. The information provided by the consumer reporting agency included the following factors from your credit report that affected our decision: Too many accounts with balances. Too many inquiries last 12 months. Too many accounts recently opened. Length of time accounts have been established.
Our cancellation of your account under these circumstances may result in negative reporting of this account to the consumer reporting agencies. Additionally, if you do not pay your account in a timely manner, your account may be referred to a collection agency."
Now you can imagine how upset I was. I called AMEX immediately and after spending about four hours on the phone with them, NO ONE could tell me why my account was cancelled. One reason they stated was that I had a past due amount which was never paid with AMEX, which clearly I didn't. I therefore panicked and thought I had been a victim of identity theft and asked to see if there were any other accounts open in my name.
The representative established that there weren't and he also confirmed that I had no past due balance on my AMEX account... EVER. He also stated that my credit was excellent and that he would try reinstating my account, which of course was denied.
I quickly went and pulled up my Experian credit report, because the representative said that AMEX had obtained all this information through them. My credit was fine... I have a 728 credit score, no balances unpaid, no delinquencies, no NOTHING. AMEX also stated that they closed my account because I had opened too many recent accounts... which is funny because my AMEX Blue card was the last credit card I ever opened... which was approx three years ago.
This entire experience was completely unbelievable. First, they cancelled my credit card without notice, which resulted in unpaid accounts with other services I used auto pay for with my AMEX. Second, they LIED about the reasons they closed my account. Every time the representative came up with a new reason as to why they closed my account, and I gave him an explanation as to why that could not be possible, he himself had run out of things to say.
Third, this may now possible affect my credit score?? WHY??? Fourth, they led me to believe that I had been a victim of identity theft and had me frantically ordering copies of my credit report all morning, which turned out that all was well... Experian said I am a low risk factor for many lending institutions. My credit score is high, I have no delinquencies or unpaid accounts. I have not opened any recent accounts and I have not had any recent checks to my credit report. WHAT SYSTEM IS AMEX USING TO REVIEW PEOPLE'S CREDIT???
I advise anyone who has an AMEX card to close the account. They obviously don't care that you've paid it in full every month and on time, they don't care about your credit score or credit report... THEY DON'T CARE. I have received much better service my Bank of America Visa's than I ever had with this poor excuse for a company. Get out.
Join in sharing with with the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit your experience with American Express interest rate increases with less than 45 day notice and no opt out provision.
You can lodge your complaints to: House Financial Services Committee, Democratic Staff, 2129 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515 (Phone 202 225–4247)... contact web page: http://financialservices.house.gov/contact.html
Since Amex has gone to the Federal government and changed their structure to a commercial bank in order to participate in the federal bailout, then they should be held accountable for their own sworn testimony just a few months ago...
Amex has done exactly what they said they don't do in their sworn testimony - they have implemented rate increases ...
( a ) not because of a specific account performance issue,
( b ) with less than 45-days notice,
( c ) without the ability to opt-out,
( d ) claimed that their cost of funds is a rationale in raising rates
Here is the sworn testimony from Larry Sharnak. Executive Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Cards, American Express Company Before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Hearing on H. R. 5244, the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2008 (4/17/2008)...
QUOTING DIRECTLY FROM THE TRANSCRIPT (http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/
"There are a number of practices we simply do not do:
- We do not increase an individual customers interest rate -- or APR -- for any reason other than the customer's performance on that particular account. If you are an American Express Cardmember, your interest rate will be increased to a penalty rate only if you violate the terms and conditions on that specific American Express account."
"Recently, many have raised concerns that credit card customers have not seen the benefits of recent rate reductions by the Federal Reserve. This is not the case for American Express Cardmembers. As the Prime Rate falls, which normally follows any drop in the federal funds rate, the interest rates applied to American Express variable rate credit card accounts are reduced by an equivalent amount. Since the Federal Reserve began reducing interest rates in September 2007:
American Express has passed along all reductions in the Prime Rate directly to consumers.
It is important to note that while these rate reductions have been directly passed on to consumers, American Express' own cost of funds has not come down at an equivalent rate. As you know, the capital markets are experiencing considerable uncertainty, which has had an impact on the cost of commercial borrowing. Even for well-capitalized, Arated companies, like American Express, interest rate spreads are extremely high. This means that the rate reductions American Express has passed along to consumers have exceeded the reduction in our own cost of funds.
As I mentioned earlier, American Express will not increase an individual Cardmember's interest rate based on their performance with other lenders, or based on a change in our cost of funds. Moreover, we will not raise a Cardmember's interest rate because of their performance on another American Express account. The overwhelming majority of American Express consumer lending accounts, 94 percent, end the year with the same or a lower interest rate than they had at the beginning of the year."
...and about 45-day notice and opting out...
Interest rate increases triggered by the customer's performance on the account in question should not be subject to a 45-day advance notice and an opt-out requirement. However, in circumstances where the rate increase results from reasons not related to the specific account in question, we believe it is appropriate to have advance notice and an opt-out.
As we discuss later in our testimony, advance notice and an opt-out should also apply to any terms change that an issuer may make to the account agreement, in lieu of a complete prohibition on "any time for any reason" terms changes as currently contemplated in the
This is to complain about the way I and my brother have been treated by American Express's Blue Card Division. Our card number is **. I am a graduating senior at the University of Chicago, and I already have a family income of about $100,000. Our Blue Card has a very modest credit limit of $1,600. We have a perfect payment history, having paid substantially more than the minimum amount each month for two years.
In December, 2009, we paid American Express $1,591.99 on our account. On December 30, 2010, Blue Card Division's Customer Service Department responded by cancelling our account. When we called to find out why, we were told that there were two reasons. (1) In October, we had a minimum payment due of $30, and we paid $65, but we drew our credit down by more than $65 by using our card. (2) Supposedly we have increased our debt level by taking out other credit cards.
The first answer is loony. There cannot be a secret rule that one cannot use one's Blue Card more than the amount of one's monthly payment. If there were such a rule, the Blue Card would not be a credit card. It would be some sort of dysfunctional debit card.
With regard to the second answer, I pointed out to Customer Service that I have neither applied for, nor received, any additional credit of any kind during the past 12 months. I have had other credit cards for years, and they too are in perfectly good standing. I asked Customer Service what negative information they have to the contrary, and they refused to tell me! I then asked them what information I might send them to correct the false information that they seem to have but will not share with me, and they said that there is nothing I can do.
When I was told that there is nothing I can do, I asked for your fax number. The Customer Service agent refused to tell me what it is. My brother had to call back and threaten the supervisor to obtain this fax number.
I conclude from this experience that Customer Service canceled our account because we broke some secret rule, and they will not tell us what it is. I guess that the secret rule is that we are not supposed to pay off the balance on our account, because that will reduce the amount of interest you can charge us. (The cancellation occurred immediately after we made our largest payment this year.)
I also conclude that Customer Service is either loony or was lying to us. Probably both. So we canceled authorization for our third payment in December that seems to have set off these events. And we of course will continue to make (now minimum) monthly payments until our balance is paid in full.
Lastly, I conclude from this experience that I cannot count on American Express to follow its own rules. I cannot even depend on American Express not to lie to me. No one needs this. We did nothing to deserve this. Are you really so desperate that you have to treat good customers this way?
Looks like I am one in a long list of folks who got their credit limit instantly reduced for no logical reason, causing embarrassment. Balance around 12,200 with credit limit of 15,000. I was using it exclusively (i.e. my other credit cards have zero balance) because it had intro offer of 0% APR for 14 months and I got points towards travel. Last payment was 2200 a couple weeks ago, never been late have extremely low debt ratio and excellent credit. Never had this happen before.
My wife happens to mention the Amex card got declined. I was like no way. Told her to call. They told her we were over our limit. I said that's a lie, because I knew my limit and my balance. So, was busy Sat/Sun and called Monday. Sure enough. The "nice lady" said they reduced my limit to 12200, effectively shutting off the card. They did it because they found something negative in my credit history and because my balances relative to credit limit were high. I mentioned that I have 2 cards with Bank of America with combined credit limit of about 37,000 and zero balance. Hmmm, that doesn't sound to high to me...
Let's see. My only other debt is mortgage totaling 212k on a house worth 380k. NO OTHER DEBT. I told them to close the account immediately, and if they reported me to credit bureau as Over Limit I will sue them. She said they wouldn't but I will still double check. I also was an AMEX stockholder. There stock has been good to me but since I now hate them, I sold that stock (near their recent high, goody for me). I had my granddaughter do the honors and cut up the cards.
AMEX is now on the short list of companies I will NEVER do business with again under any circumstances and I will be happy to tell all my friends and family about. If you're wondering, the other one is Allstate, but it a similar screw the customer story.
Oh, by the way, the nice AMEX lady said they called 4 times. I asked if they left a message, she said it was automated and came back as either busy or no answer. But, she said they sent an email also. Which, when I looked as we were talking she was right. Unfortunately, I got none of this information BEFORE my family was impacted. I can only speculate as to why they did it. My guess is I was I had accumulated 58000 points (about $600 worth) AND was borrowing 12k at 0% APR. Essentially, I was beating them at their own game and with the economy turning, they couldn't bear it anymore.
It's ironic how fast this happened. I only got the card less than a year ago (and that little whatever it is on my credit rept didn't bother them, and my debt situation was identical and didn't bother them). What they did shows an utter lack of respect for their customers and put us in a very embarrassing situation. Please tell all your friends they are unethical scumbags. If they own a business tell them not to accept AMEX. If they like to invest tell them not to own AXP.
LA GRANGE, ILLINOIS -- As a proud small business owner, responsible employer and responsible every loan and credit payer I was terrified to find out on February 12th of 2009, that two of my existing American Express Cards were drastically cut on credit limit in over $19,000 combining both accounts.
So far, I was left with only $125 available credit on one of my accounts, which had a credit limit of $10,000 with the balance of approximately $2,400 (which is not even 30% of my credit limit). This unfortunately looks as I have maxed out my credit card, while another account was cut form $25,000 to $14,780, which leaves me with more than 40% used credit.
In these tough economic times for those who try to be loyal consumers and make everything work, juggling our own businesses and secondary jobs to make the living, create jobs, pay bills and our mortgages it's a “killer situation”.
Thus far, I have never been late on any of those accounts, in addition always paid more than a minimum for all my creditors, and never used my credit excessively and irresponsibly.
I do ask all possible authorities to review this case, as I have discovered that I am truly not the only one in similar situation. It is going affect my credit score dreadfully, if I will not be able to pay my American Express Credit card balance in full by February 28th of 2009 (before the billing cycle ends), which will make me eligible for my business expansion and car purchase, which was absolutely on my way. By saying that it is truly not helping us, as consumers, as well as whole country economy at all.
After briefly talking to customer service representative at American Express, he explained that one of the reasons my credit card limits were drastically decreased was that I had balances on almost all my credit cards, which is not true, because not all the time every card is being paid off just before the billing cycle ends as I do make payments probably on daily basis.
Another reason I was explained was that there were two many new accounts within the last 12 months, which is completely understandable as I have applied for 3 business credit card accounts in the past 12 months, to start building credit history for my business (and the very beginning of the business you always rely on your personal credit), which was opened just 12 months ago, and under my company name I have bought small business, existing tanning salon (which has been in the business from 1999) in South West suburbs of Illinois.
This horribly excessive and extreme “right” of American Express, for whom I have been loyal client for over 3 years, and to be honest I was ALWAYS absolutely satisfied with their customer service, because I have always thought that they are most responsible creditors in my experience, has “kicked” me more than harsh. In the addition, as much I as I would not like to mention, I am still receiving preapproved applications and regular applications for American Express Business Credit cards. How in the world I would trust them again and do the business with them?
This horribly unfair and humiliating and mortifying policy. We already have enough NON-PAYING consumers who might be irresponsible or sometimes people who are really deeply in trouble in regards to our economic situation. So why there should be a policy that allows to “kill” every other financial credibility and partial stability?
I have had an American Express Blue card for close to 10 years. I have other credit cards as well from Chase, Citi, HSBC, BofA. I don't use my AmEx all that much lately as I have a BofA card linked to my daughter's 529 account and use that mostly for the rewards.
I had a balance of $28.00 on my AmEx and I was away and it was due just after Thanksgiving. I have never been late before on this card, I have a 750 credit score - always try to be on time. I realized I misplaced the bill before the holiday and my trip and so I was a few days late and thought I'd call and see if they would waive the $15 late fee charge since it was a first time late charge in 10 years and that I just paid the bill on line. All other credit companies have helped me take a charge off in the past be it for overlimit charge or something like that, I thought AmEx would for sure do it, BUT NO...
I even told them I would cancel my card if they wouldn't take the charge off as I was put so aback that they would put making a dollar over good customer service and they said they still couldn't do it. So I told them to please cancel me and they did and I was so in shock that they would be that pathetic on keeping customers happy. It's not like this happened 3 months ago and I'm asking them to do it again. MY balance was a little $28.00 not like it was $5,000 or something and I'm trying to get away with something.
In all, I will NEVER work with American Express again and I hope everyone sees them for the bloodsuckers they are. I would work with any other credit card company over AmEx as all other companies have proven to me to put the customer first and not bottom line.
I have been very careful with credit cards my whole life. As a result, I have an excellent credit score (776), but I don't have a huge credit history. Nevertheless, like most people, I am inundated with offers for new credit cards, but as I said, I am careful. I have had a corporate AMEX card for 5 years and I've paid it in full each month. I've also had a VISA platinum for 10+ years.
So, when I finally decided to get a cash rewards card, I decided to go with AMEX Blue Cash, thinking that in addition to my credit score, they would see my good history with them and offer me good terms. However, the card they sent me has a credit line of $2,000 and an APR of 22%; I could get better terms by walking into Macy's and applying for a card.
I've called and emailed with AMEX for 3 weeks asking for someone (anyone!) to contact me and explain why they decided to give me such a raw deal. After 2 weeks, the accounts supervisor (**) finally called and left her number on my voice mail, however, when I phoned the number I reached a sex chat line! It took another week for her to finally call me back and she was incredibly rude. I just don't get this company. I am a very, very careful credit user. I understand they are reigning in credit and hedging their risk, but to offer such poor customer service just baffles me.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure what I can do about it. They've already pulled my credit report, so if I go and apply for a different card so soon, that will affect my credit score. This is a real shortcoming of our system. We apply for a credit card without knowing what terms we are agreeing to. We can cancel the card but that hurts our credit score.
Given my interaction with AMEX, I would *NOT* recommend this company. I am planning to cancel both this and my corporate card, just as soon as I can *reach* any one at AMEX - I've been trying but somehow they always manage to have a problem with their phones. Really an awful, awful company! Do yourself a favor and select any other credit card.
FT. LAUDERDALE -- I've had my Amex Blue for 7 years now, never been late with a payment, always paid more than the minimum but, like all of us, I am only human. A couple of months ago I switched my checking account from Wachovia to a local bank that pays a decent interest rate on all balances. Diligently I went through all my other financial accounts adding the new checking account as the one to make payments from and, for most, deleting the details of the now closed Wachovia account. Amex was one where I either couldn't remove the old account or just simply forgot.
Last month I accessed my Amex account online to make my payment and that's when I messed up, I scheduled the payment against the closed checking account. A few days later I received a call from Amex to tell me my payment had been returned, I realized immediately what I had done and explained this to the very pleasant lady from Amex. She asked if I wanted to make a payment over the telephone so I did - it was still before the payment due date so at least I wouldn't get charged for being late, I knew I would have to pay for the returned payment, but that was my mistake so "fair enough".
Yesterday I received a letter from Amex which started by saying how Amex "always wanted you to clearly understand both the benefits and the responsibilities of card membership with American Express". Who wrote this? My mother?
Anyway, to get to the point of the letter, my 'punishment', Amex are going to make me pay for my mistakes. Because of this one single mistake in 7 years the APR on my 'Blue' credit card is being increased from the current 'nominal' rate of 10.24% to "the prime rate + 23.99%........ At the current prime rate that means 27.24% an increase of 17%...... That's almost 3 times what it was. Only alternative is to opt out, effectively closing the account (I wonder what effect that will have on my credit rating).
The last line from Amex is the killer. "We hope you will continue your relationship with us so that we can provide you with the rich benefits and superior service that come with membership". Can't help but wonder what those benefits are, and consider that the only think 'superior' about Amex is their attitude towards their customers.
LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA -- I recently paid of my American Express Blue card in full. ($2500) I had spent some time paying off other debts first but this was the last to go. I was feeling good about finally being debt free and having a decent line of credit to start using on a regular basis. I was also looking forward to suing those rewards point that I acquired. (6300)
So I go to use my card knowing that I have a nice cushion of 2600 and it is declined. Figuring it must be a mistake I check by phone and everything was cool. On-line my account is paid. So I try to use it once more. NO DICE! So I called the customer service line and found that my account had been canceled. I asked if it was some kind of mistake and they told me they sent me a letter informing my why. Since I didn't get the letter they told me over the phone that they checked my credit and saw that I had too much debt for the about of credit available.
Well I guess that is what happens when you only have a few credit cards and then get financed to BUY a new car! I get approved for a car loan, pay off all my credit cards, and they think it is in their best interest to close my account! I would think that faithful making on time payments for all my accounts for two years would show some kind of responsibility. I guess they don't want money.
I can't believe that they would do such a thing. I would have at least wanted some notice. They have my number they could have called, or I guess they didn't give a crap. Credit card companies only call when they want to hassle some who is down like a big financial bully. Well I am done with them. I just wish I had spent my 6300 rewards point before they stole them from me! I think we all know the big corporations like this have gotten way out of control. Let's hope the snazzy congress of ours can finally come up with some legislation that will put the power back in the hands of the consumers!
VOORHEES, NEW JERSEY -- I have been an American Express card holder since the year 2000 and I have worked extremely hard to build the credit that I had. I currently have three credit card accounts with American Express. On my BLUE credit card between 10/17/08 and 11/18/08 statements my credit line was reduced from $48,000 to $40,000 (17%, within $750 of my balance). During the same time period they imposed a $1,700 credit limit on my ONE credit card which always had been unlimited.
I had charged and paid each month more than $2,000 consistently for years on that card and now I had to scramble to move automatic payments, I had several charges declined after the limit was set and was left with egg on my face.
After calling customer service several times they said this was due to a credit review and there was nothing that could be done about it. On 4/2/09 I was notified that my BLUE credit line was reduced from $40,000 to $9,600 (76%, within $200 of my balance). After calling customer service and speaking with a manager they said this was due to a high debt/credit ratio and there was nothing that could be done about it. I have never made a late payment and I typically pay much higher than the minimum payment.
At a minimum this is horrible customer service and at a maximum they have severely impacted my credit rating by increasing my debt/credit ratio. My debt/credit ratio has not changed dramatically in over a year and my credit score is over 700, what they are doing is completely arbitrary. I would not be surprised if they lower my limit again in the near future as they are now creating a self-fulfilled prophecy by manipulating my credit.
From the research I have done there are hundreds if not thousands of customers being affected in the same way and I am looking for a class action lawsuit to join if this can not be resolved immediately. I am so unhappy that I want to immediately cancel all of my credit accounts with American Express, the only reason I have not is it will hurt my credit scores even more. Please help!