• Report: #642650

Complaint Review: American Express

  • Submitted: Mon, September 20, 2010
  • Updated: Fri, September 16, 2011

  • Reported By: Rt — Miami Florida United States of America
American Express
American Express Tower New York, New York United States of America

American Express AMERICAN EXPRESS CHAMPIONS OF CUSTOMER CENTRIC SERVICE TO ROBOTIC BARBARIANS New York, New York

*General Comment: know what your going through

*Author of original report: Nothing Resolved

*Consumer Comment: This Is Standard Behavior For Banks...

*Consumer Comment: There may not be much you can do...

*Consumer Comment: SINCE THE FEDERAL RESERVE RUNS MOST OF THE U.S. ECONOMY, AND AMERICAN EXPRESS IS LINKED TO THE FEDERAL RESERVE, IT LOOKS AS THOUGH....

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I received my first American Express card as a college student in 1982.  The sole, thin plastic card in my wallet carried an important weight for me; I felt grown up and financially validated.  Upon graduation I moved to New York, and as a young executive, I used my card with great pride.  I often enjoyed a light meal and beverage at the newly opened Smith and Wollensky, sitting elbow to elbow with Manhattans business elite and proudly paying with my Green Card. 

Over the years I was invited to receive many American Express products.  I was an inaugural Optima cardholder, and my Green Card was upgraded to Gold and then subsequently Platinum. [continued below]....

.....  I fully enjoyed the benefits of the cards, which I felt were well worth the annual fee.  Over time I used my American Express accounts to purchase hundreds of thousands of goods and services while maintaining each account in good standing.  Through their OPEN program, I financed the growth of my small business, continually keeping my accounts in good standing.

Over the years, American Express changed many of their policies and the days of no preset spending limit were over.  Credit lines were actively monitored and often reduced.  Yet, this was perfectly understandable.  Their website enhancements were exceptional, particularly the option to receive immediate credit for an online payment.

This is where the problem started.  Although I had no current balance due on my Business Platinum Card, I made a $500 online payment on August 4th to provide additional funds for a trip I was taking to Spain.  Due to a technical issue with my bank, the payment was returned, resubmitted, and my card was credited on the 6th.  As I had a sizable credit line available, I felt comfortable using this card as the primary form of payment during my trip.

On the eve of my vacation, I received an email notifying me that my Optima card was canceled without any explanation.  I still boarded the plane without concern as my other accounts were in good standing (as was the Optima card, however).  I used my card frequently in Barcelona, until August 9th, when I was inundated with emails informing me that one card after another was being canceled.   I made numerous calls to American Express seeking an answer.  Each time I was graciously thanked for being a member since 1982, but also told that due to a returned, unpaid electronic payment my accounts were reevaluated and subsequently closed. I would deem the responses scripted and robotic.  Nothing could be done to reinstate the accounts although they were all in good standing.  Thankfully, the Business Platinum card I was carrying was not closed nor was my personal platinum card, which I had left at home.  Each time I spoke to a representative, I explained that I was in Europe and needed access to my remaining account until I returned home.  

On the evening of August 9th, quite literally when the hotel check was presented, I received an email that my business platinum account was closed.  After a lengthy and embarrassing call to customer service in the middle of the establishment (again, with the same robotic response), my business associate paid the check.  Later that evening, I again called customer service asking that they allow me to pay my hotel bill.  After long delays, they reluctantly agreed. That was my last charge to the account.

When I returned to the states on August 9th, I called customer service and asked to speak to a supervisor.  Repeatedly, I received the same robotic response.  I asked myself if it truly made sense to humiliate a-28-year member based upon a purely algorithmic evaluation of my accounts.  I attempted to rationalize the fact that the Business Platinum card required payment in full, which without fail I made on a monthly basis. In addition, the rather large annual membership fees would be lost, and of course there were thousands of dollars in expenditure charged to the multiple cards. The supervisor actually seemed truly compassionate.  She stated that until just recently she had the authority to override a matter such as this but those days are gone.  Since she worked with the OPEN accounts, she could not comment on my personal Platinum Card.

Over the next week, my personal platinum card remained active, and I repeatedly called American Express to ensure it was in good standing.  On August 13th I spoke to an individual who assured me that may account was in good standing, but to just be certain, I should wire the $1,546 payment that was due. I followed these instructions and the account remained current.  Days later I received notice that the account was closed.  I made my last plea to an American Express supervisor, was again thanked for my many years as a card member, but due to a returned payment nothing could be done. 

On August 20th I received a renewed personal Platinum card in the mail and was excited that American Express had reconsidered their position.  I immediately called to activate the card and received the welcome response your card is now ready to use.  I went out for lunch, and upon using the card to pay the tab, it was declined.  Outraged, I again called a representative who was relatively speechless.  She said it was sent in error and that the gentleman who suggested I send the wire transfer while assuring me the account was in good standing, had no authority to make such a commitment.  I asked at a minimum the $25 wire fee be reimbursed, which she said she would look into.  There has been no response to-date. 

To make the situation even more horrific, Ive incurred a $1,097.35 fee for $500 in travelers checks I ordered on August 10th   through the Members Reward program.  With the assurance that my personal Platinum account was in good standing, I used 40,000 points and was advanced the balance through the Membership Miles program.  This allows a  ward program member time to pay back the miles with future purchases.  Never would I have done so if I was not assured my card was in good standing; the $1097 charge is a result of absolute deception on behalf of American Express.

As all my accounts have been closed and my 28-year relationship with American Express shattered, I enrolled all my accounts into a debt consolidation program.  Seemed I had nothing to lose, I repeatedly lived up to my financial commitments with American Express, yet they choose to shun me.  I found it truly absurd that at the end of each of my many customer service conversations, the representative was sure to ask, is there anything else I can do for you?

At a minimum, I think it just to be reimbursed for the $25 wire fee (the payment could have easily been made online for no fee), my accrued membership dues, and the outrageous $1097 point advance fee, which was imposed with the knowledge all my accounts were to be closed.  I would be happy to return the $500 dollar equivalence paid with advanced miles.  Most of all, I would like to have either my personal or business platinum account(s) reinstated. 

Is this practice legal?  Are there laws in place to protect the consumer from unfair credit card penalties such as these? In one felt swoop can an outstanding card member of 28 years be chastised due to a simple ACH technicality while all accounts remained in good standing?   Most definitely a victim of deceptive business practice,  your assistance on gaining resolution to this matter will be greatly appreciated.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/20/2010 07:28 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/American-Express/New-York-New-York-10281/American-Express-AMERICAN-EXPRESS-CHAMPIONS-OF-CUSTOMER-CENTRIC-SERVICE-TO-ROBOTIC-BARBA-642650. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 4Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 General Comment

know what your going through

AUTHOR: Beachbead - (U.S.A.)

My friend which was along time memeber of the card was messed over too, back when American express was telling people they needed to pay before the time they needed to pay, my friend stayed with the company after that fact but the next year could no longer stand what they was doing to her so, she turned over to place in which would help her pay off her card in small payments, it's been two years now and American express and Zwicker & Associates P.C. calls her all the time, more then two times a day, American express once a month now calls her six times in a row,and both companys leave no messages at all, she no longer picks up the phone when she sees there name on caller ID. or one of ere many numbers both companys have.
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#2 Author of original report

Nothing Resolved

AUTHOR: Rtodak - (United States of America)

My response to a boiler plate correspondence from AMEX:

October 17, 2010



Robert Todak



  



Ms. Jean Kanstroom



Executive Assistant



American Express Cards



777 American Expressway



Ft Lauderdale, FL  33337



 



Re:          canceled accounts



 



Thank you for your response to my recent correspondence.  It is unfortunate American Express is unable to recognize my years 28 years of loyalty and impeccable account record, nor resolve some serious issues.



  1. The bait and switch scam:   Ive incurred a $1,097.35 fee for $500

    in travelers checks I ordered on August 10th through the Members Reward

    program.  With the assurance that my

    personal Platinum account was in good standing, I used 40,000 points and

    was advanced the balance through the Membership Miles program.  Never would I have done so if I was not

    assured my card was in good standing; the $1,097 charge is a result of

    absolute deception on behalf of American Express.
       
  2. The everything will be fine wire transfer: Over

    the next week, my personal platinum card remained active, and I repeatedly

    called American Express to ensure it was in good standing.  On August 13th I spoke to an

    individual who assured me that may account was in good standing, but to

    just be certain, I should wire the $1,546 payment that was due. I

    followed these instructions and the account remained current.  Days later I received notice that the

    account was closed.  I made my last

    plea to an American Express supervisor, was again thanked for my many

    years as a card member, but due to a returned payment nothing could be

    done.   I demand the $25 fee be returned.
  3. Final, I expect the prorated annual membership

    fees on my cancelled Platinum and Gold accounts be refunded.    It

    insulting and unjustified.


Finally, I am willing and happy to pay the entire balance on either my personal or corporate Platinum Cards in exchange for reactivating one of the two accounts.    After my 28-year relationship with American Express, I would expect this to be reasonable and prudent.



Sincerely,



 



Robert J Todak



CC:          Kenneth Chenault



               ripoffreport.com



               FDIC        

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#3 Consumer Comment

This Is Standard Behavior For Banks...

AUTHOR: Bman - (United States of America)

Sadly, this is standard behavior for lending institutions, and they tend to defraud the public intentionally. Very carefully crafted message and logically presented. I have had similar events happen with credit cards starting in 2009 and am actively in the process of closing them all down. I will be using an open-ended loan attached to my checking account for large purchases. Please consider sending a report to the government agency mentioned at end of message, since I believe that it will matter if enough people articulate their experiences. There is an article today in the news about this business entity. Here is the agency:

http://www.ftc.gov/reports/index.htm



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#4 Consumer Comment

There may not be much you can do...

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (USA)

I would imagine that there must be something in the terms that gives them the legal right to cancel the accounts. Times have changed..I am sure there was a day as the service rep told you, where you were treated as a customer, and not just a number.

I am not that old, but I remember when they had "grace periods", so if you were late with a payment by a few days, they would forgive it. Now if you are late by ONE SECOND after the close of the business due date...they can "do nothing". If you do all the RIGHT things like pay down the balances..they cancel you. This is going to really hurt the economy, and this is an important year for retail. If they do not have a good holiday season in sales, you know more jobs cuts, hour cuts, restructures and closing downs will be the result. Without credit lines there is little chance for this being a good season. Wall Street will cause the economy to crash even further...dare I say "recession"?

It all comes down to greed of course..always the bottom line. But if you think about how much we hear about these days and on this site, that accounts are being closed up, or limits reduced, or rates tripled and quadrupled..even by consumers like yourself who have a history of good standing for years and years and years..it seems apparent what the reason must be.

Now of course they make money by keeping accounts open, and by customers using the accounts. So if they are closing any accounts, it must be because they fear something. Most likely..it is bankruptcy. Think about it.

Perhaps someone else who knows more about lending regulations can post if there is something you can do, or if the company violated any laws..but I figure American Express as been around long enough to know how to legally cover itself. I truly wish you the best of luck..you seem like a good honest person who simply got shafted by a financial institution that couldn't care less of what this does to you, or how much they made off you in the past 28 years of your loyalty.


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#5 Consumer Comment

SINCE THE FEDERAL RESERVE RUNS MOST OF THE U.S. ECONOMY, AND AMERICAN EXPRESS IS LINKED TO THE FEDERAL RESERVE, IT LOOKS AS THOUGH....

AUTHOR: Karl - (USA)

American Express can do whatever it wants, correct?


Anyone can 'Google' this- WHO OWNS THE FED?, and go to the site with the 5 charts and see that American Express Co. appears in 'Chart 3', right?



Don't forget to 'Google' this- ORIGINAL DISSENT WHO CONTROLS THE U.S. ECONOMY?, and go to that site and take a look at all of the people pictured.



WELCOME TO AMERICA- A COUNTRY CONTROLLED BY A CARTEL OF BANKERS





*******************************   Fed Alert   *******************************



*Anyone can 'Google' this- AMERICA: FREEDOM TO FASCISM, and watch that documentary on the web to learn more about the Federal Reserve.



Thank You




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