American Express — canceled card with no notice
I have had my gold card for 9 years. I have always paid my balances, even through a bad period, 6 years ago, when I let other cards balances be delinquent due to medical bills.
The one thing I always appreciated with AMEX was their awesome customer service. The about 3 years ago, I noticed they had begun outsourcing customer service and billing questions to a call center in India. There were more instances of what I would term poor communication: speaking with a rep in India, being assured that a payment would post... and then finding out it had not.
I never had a pre-set credit limit, and always paid off my card every month. However, about a year ago I had a family emergency and was unable to pay off the entire $2500.00 balance in one month. I called customer service, and they helped me set up a three-month pay off plan. I followed through, and did not miss a payment.
It wasn't until the last four months, that I ever again carried over a balance, but they never complained.
Then last week I paid off the entire balance to zero. I was thrilled that I was finally caught up.
Yesterday, a small charge with Amazon.com was denied. Curious, I called AMEX. The rep told me that my card had been canceled. I asked why in the world would they cancel my card when I had just paid them in full last week. I even talked to them on the phone last Friday to make sure my online payment went through.
The rep told me he didn't know, but that if I wanted my card "re-instated" I would have to pay $45.00.
I told him that was perfectly ridiculous and asked to speak to a supervisor. The rep cut me off.
I called back again, and then, after telling the same story to another rep, she said she would transfer me to a supervisor.
I waited for 30 minutes (timed it on my cell) until a person reading from a script (obviously not in the US), with a very heavy accent, told me that because I had something unfavorable in my credit report from the past, which was noted by a credit reporting agency, my card had been canceled.
She then offered to reinstate the card for a charge of $25.00.
When I asked to speak to her supervisor, I was told that he would not be able to do anything else for me. I told her to go ahead and transfer me anyway. She then cut me off.
At first I was mad. Then I felt hurt. I have used this card ethically for 9 years, and always paid my bills. My credit score is not perfect, it is 658.
But I have been striving to make it better every year.
My sense is that AMEX will be doing this to hundreds of us Americans over the coming months, and as they lay-off thousands of employees, those trying to communicate with them will be waiting for hours on the phone, and never be able to resolve problems.
I, like many Americans, needed my credit card for making reservations for business travel, shopping at Costco, and purchasing business supplies.
We are going to see greater repercussions; other businesses rely on us using our credit cards online, and during holidays. It will be interesting to see what happens to this "house of interconnected cards" as the months roll on.
We taxpayers may have bailed out the banks, but the banks are holding us up with threats of cancellations, higher fees, and trumped up charges.
Beware of American Express. With my husband's advice, I took the scissors to the gold card last night, and I look forward to a class action suit against them!
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