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American Express / debt collection

1 United States Review updated:

On Tuesday, January 20, 2009 I received a letter from American Express dated 1/14/2009 that stated my account is being reviewed for collections. Twenty-four hours later I received a phone call on my work phone from Zwicker and Associates. They identify themselves as an Attorney that has been retained by American Express to file a law suit against me. Of course I told them I would not speak with them while I was at work and hung up. I was confused and shocked and had no idea who these people were! I called American Express and the recording told me to call the 800 number who turned out to be Zwicker and Associates.

I called American Express back and was able to speak with a Human by not entering my account number. Once the person had my information, they refused to speak with me about my account.

I then returned the telephone call to Zwicker and Associates on my first break. I was transferred to a man by the name of Steven Marshall. Mr. Marshall stated that I had to pay him the full amount of 16, 249 plus dollars to settle the account. I explained that I have been making payments, and would like to make good and catch up my account, which was only about a month and a half behind. Mr. Marshall said he would take 10, 000 dollars over the phone and I had to give him a post dated check. I refused due to not having the money and he said if I didn’t give it to him “now” or he would forward my file to begin litigation. I was scared and did not know what to do so I gave him the check for 10, 000 dated 1/29/2009, but I explained I may not be able to come up with the money. I explained that I would probably have to call and cancel the check.

Shortly after ending the phone call I did place a stop payment on the check and contacted my bank’s security office.

I have a rare heart condition and the condition is stress induced and I had to take the rest of the day off from work. I could not function thanks to Mr. Marshall’s threats.

The person I spoke with is Steven Marshall at [protected], ext. 3225.
His E-mail is

On 1/23/2009 I sent an E-mail to Zwicker and Associates informing them that I had learned of a law in the State of Massachusetts, 940 C.M.R. 7.00, which prevents any Debt Collector from soliciting a post dated check from anyone. When I notified them of this law via E-mail they made a statement I had “re-nigged” on my agreement and they would be pushing a law suit forward quickly against me. Proof of this can be heard on a telephone recording where Mr. Marshall of Zwicker and Associates knowingly spoke on a recorded line. The conversation takes place between Mr. Marshall and Vickie Piontek, who is a nice lady I met on an Internet forum. She is an attorney, but has not been hired to represent me. A copy of the conversation is available on CD.

Also, in the recording Mr. Marshall states that I contacted him by phone to “pull the settlement.” I have not spoken with Mr. Marshall after he coerced me into giving him the post dated check. I sent him an E-mail only; he never had the chance to tell me he would now want the full amount by January 31st. He is lying. Proof of the E-mail is attached.

On 1/25/2009 I sent a Cease and Desist letter to Zwicker and Associates via Fax and Certified Mail with Return Receipt. I requested strict proof of the alleged debt, a copy of the initial contract and payment history as well as a copy of the assignment of the alleged debt. I received the return receipt, but have never received a response to my request. As of 5/11/2009 Zwicker and Associates still has not answered my request.

On 1/26/2009 date I received my first letter dated 1/22/2009 from American Express notifying me that Zwicker and Associates was taking over my case. But, Zwicker and Associates contacted me via the telephone on 1/20/2009.

Staring sometime in March of this year I started receiving calls from an unknown person by the name of “Bonnie” from United Recovery Systems who wanted to speak with me about my “delinquent account, ” as she put it. During the next few days this person called both my parents and in-laws at their residence. The lady calling herself Bonnie told my family I needed to call her in reference to an account that I owed money on and gave a reference number. On 4/1/2009 I received a letter dated 3/13/2009 from a company by the name of United Recovery Systems (from a Mrs. W. White) stating they are a collection agency and needed to pay them $16, 964.53 to settle my American Express Account.

With the knowledge that American Express had hired Zwicker and Associates, I ignored this letter thinking it was a scam. Then on 4/25/2009 I received a letter from American Express which was titled “A Helpful Offer From American Express.” The letter, dated 4/21/2009 stated I could make payment arrangements with United Recovery Systems with a 0.00% interest rate and no fees. However, American Express has not notified me of any information about my status with Zwicker and Associates.???. So, am I now being pursued by two agencies for one debt, who do I pay? American Express, Zwicker and Associates, or United Recovery Systems?

Now, to make this even more interesting I receive another letter from American Express on 5/1/2009, dated 4/24/2009. This letter was titled, “Opportunity to Regain Cardmembership.” This letter actually offered me a new American Express Credit card with an annual fee of $49.00 and a interest rate of 14.99%. All I had to do is contact United Recovery Systems and make payment arrangements and the new card was mine.

Finally, on Thursday, May 7th at 11:29 AM my father, Robert Priest, received a telephone on his personal business line. The caller identified himself as a representative of The Law Offices of Mann Braken [protected]). The caller told my father that they had been retained against me and I needed to pay the entire 16, 000 (plus) balance at once. The caller attempted to solicit a credit card from my father to make a payment. My father told the caller to send their request in writing to me and hung up on them. At 11:56 AM another call came in from a different representative of Mann Braken. My father immediately hung up. A third call came in at 5:25 PM. All three calls were received on an Alltel Cell phone and proof of the incoming calls can be retrieved from Alltel. I can also attempt to obtain a copy of my father’s Alltel statement is needed.

I am not a dead beat and have always made a very good effort to pay my bills on time. This past year or two has become difficult and I even sent American Express two E-mails using their communication system. Of course, now that system cannot be accessed by me.

Also, since this began I have not made any additional payments. I don’t know who to pay. Now more than ever I am confused and scared to talk to anyone. Who do I pay American Express, Zwicker and Associates, United Recovery Systems, Mann Braken, or who?????

I will be at home recovering from Heart Surgery for the next four to six weeks if I can clarify any of the above information. Please, contact me if I can.

Note: I have also filed a complaint/case with the following:

The Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20580

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of Investor Education and Advocacy
100 F Street, N.E.
Washington, DC [protected]

U.S. Dept. of Treasury
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street, Suite 3450
Houston, TX [protected]

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection
Consumer Response Center
2345 Grand Boulevard, Suite 100
Kansas City, MO 64108

U.S. Senate
Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs
534 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Florida Attorney General’s Office
State of Florida
PL-01, The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Florida Division of Financial Services
Office of Financial Regulation
Division of Finance
Consumer Complaint Section
200 E. Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL [protected]

The Better Business Bureau
4200 Wilson Blvd, Suite 800
Arlington, VA [protected]

(Against Zwicker and Associates, specifically)

Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Complaints and Information
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

State of Massachusetts
Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
Ten Park Plaza, Suite 5170
Boston, MA 02116

(Against Mann Braken, LLP, specifically)

Georgia Office of the Attorney General
40 Capitol Square, SW
Atlanta, GA 30334

Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs
2 Martin Luther King, JR. Drive SE, Suite 356
Atlanta, Georgia [protected]

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  • Bh
      7th of May, 2008
    0 Votes
    Icici Bank Gold American Express Card - late payment fees unwantly charged
    bhawesh electronics

    dear sir, ,

    late payment fees hadbeen charged by the banker despite of made full payment before due date,

    and the amount has been credited as well, in the statement send by the banker, before due date..

    so, what to do, , ?

    even called to customer care they are not willing to give service request number of my complain, ,
    and the attendent also not willing to give the employee id, number..

    bhawesh badalia

  • Rs
      3rd of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes


    ICICI Bank charging free from customers who paid there credit card bills through amount. I have paid the amount with that extra charge but in the next bill they again charged the bill like
    Fee levied for cash payment - 100.

    So many times i tried to connect to customer care i am not able to connect to customer care.

  • Me
      17th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes
    American Express - Reduced credit line??for what reason
    American Express
    United States

    I have had and currently hold, R1 credit ratings for over 25 years.(since my first credit card!!NEVER have mised one payment, and ALWAYS pay extra) I have had my AMex card for about 3 years, with a credit line of about 6k. I owe about 300.00.. i received a letter (after I looked on my account online with shock!) that they reduced my credit line to 500.00. After several calls about my rewards points that were supposed to go to my balance, I got the runaround and no one could give me the same answer. I finally called again today and spoke to another supervisor, who said the prior reps. must have mis-informed me im now stuck with the points balance amount due. IM sorry they misinformed you?? is all i get !! Thanks a lot ripoff company. Ill NEVER do business with them again...Ill take my R1 credit to someone else who appreciates a customer!

  • De
      24th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    I've had a business Gold Amex 15 years. Never late on payments. Then I saw online where my limit was $0.00!! I called and was told that many accounts had been reviewed and my limit was lowered by 60% (no reason given). They lowered my credit amount without notice and my charges had reached the new limit. The account manager seemed not to care that I used the card for inventory purchases especially here at Christmas time. I told him that it would cause much confusion because of auto bill pay that I used. Again, he did not care. I told him to cancel the insurance for travel etc, I told him that my business would no longer accept the Amex card!! He did not care. I then called and got a business Visa card. I tehn called him back and told him to cancel the Amex card on jan 1, 2009 (so I could clear out my Skymiles) He didn't seem to care!!! What is wrong with these people?? I think they must be on their last leg. Why would they risk losing a good customer(s)? This is a recipe for disaster. I am funneling all my business through Visa now. Amex will not get a chance to reduce my limit again. I also let it be known that when the economy is better, don't call begging with offers for the card...I don't care if they go belly up (that's the attitude they exhibited toward my business). I can only imaging what would have happened if I hadn't had credit to get alternative would have been devastating...Screw You, American Express...That can't last long doing this to people

  • An
      8th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes
    American Express Credit Cards - Consumer Service
    American Express
    United States

    American Express is so mismanaged! I had all of my identity stolen in August and reported my stolen AMEX cards to them immediately. I had a pending online payment due within 48hours of the theft and was unable to cancel the payment due to the time element. I was assured by the representative on the phone that I could re-submit my payment with my new bank account info and all would be well. I did so and the payment was on time. I have 2 AMEX cards and I neve have a balance of more than a few hundred dollars on each, paying well over the amount due each month. I have never been late on either card and have a credit score of almost 800. In the past two weeks AMEX has cancelled my FlexPay on the Gold card and reduced my credit limit on the Blue card from $15000 to $500!! After talking to the rep on the phone for 15 minutes I asked for a Supervisor and was patched through to Herno Sejour, in the credit department. After spending almost 45 minutes talking to him, I found out that the reason the credit limit on my Blue card was reduced was because they showed a NSF in August (when my purse was stolen) on the Gold Card in spite of the fact that I had called and explained what was happening and the payment was made on time with the new checking account!! The information in their system showed no report of my cards being stolen and the bank info needing to be changed due to the theft. They only showed "replacement cards" being sent. They quote Experian as their credit reporting agency and in checking with Experian, I found no adverse information contained. This all started when I called in on November 24th to have the Flex Pay removed from my Gold Card. Somehow they have completely confused the information in my file with them and I can't get anywhere in trying to resolve the issue. I have heard from 3 other business associates that it's best to "LEAVE HOME WITHOUT American Express" because they are one of the worst credit card companies out there. I BELIEVE!!

  • Sh
      16th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    I've a customer of AMEX for a long time, have immaculate credit, have never been late or in default on anything, and "out of the blue", AMEX reduced my credit line by $32, 500 !!! Last month I made a large payment of $ 19, 000, and then this month, without prior notification, AMEX reduced my credit line down to within $ 177 of my low balance, TWO WEEKS before Christmas! What if I had gone out and purchased some Christmas presents...not knowing that they rediced the limit to nothing (because they didn't advise me) then they would have hit me with an over the limit fee. Furthermore, AMEX is negatively impacting my credit because instead of me having a low balance on a high limit card, they reduced the limit down to my balance which makes it appear as if I max'd out the card! It should be illegal for them or any creditor to be able to take action that negatively effects your credit when you have never been late or in default, and have always complied completely with your user agreement. As previous people have written, I called AMEX who had no explanation except I've had credit inquiries lately. I moved, purchased a new home and related expenses...yes, I have had legitimate inquiries, and all of my accounts are in good standing. I also informed AMEX that I will close my account and NEVER do business with them again, if this is how they treat customers in good standing. The Federal Goverment gave these banking institutions 700 Billion dollars to relax credit and/or provide credit to "main street", instead they are reducing and/or denying credit, now more than ever, and to people who have great credit and are low risk. AMEX, I hope you go under!

  • Ca
      18th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes
    American Express - Lowered My Line - No Reason
    United States

    Don't Trust AMEX. They are screwing thousands of their customers daily!

    They took away 70k of our available credit with no warning. No lates, 700+ score. What they are doing should be against the law. I wrote a blog with some things I did to fight back:

    The funny part is they are also asking for BILLIONS from the bailout bill. The same bill that was passed by congress to INCREASE lending!

    Once again, they little people get the shaft, while corporate america gets a bailout. Shameful. Shameful Shameful.

  • Ro
      18th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    Same thing happened to me . Should be a law !

  • Ol
      22nd of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes
    American Express - decreased credit is less than balance
    American Express
    United States
    Phone: 206-356-7143

    AMEX BE AWARE!!! I have been with AMEX for several years. I have personal and business cards. I have never, ever missed a payment on any of the cards and my credit history was always great. Just last week my Amex card was declined - I was surpised, because as far as I know I had another $2, 000.00 of credit line to go. Anyway, I called Amex right away and I could not believe what I was hearing. Amex decreased my credit line - which would have been fine if it wasn't for very important detail: the amount of the new reduced line is $1, 650.00 less then my current card balance!!! So, it looks as I west $1, 650.00 over the limit!!! I got fees, I got "defaulted"!! American Express had nothing to say to me except that if I don't come up with that difference in literally a week than I will continue to be in default!! I am basically screwed! Amex is running me into the bancruptcy! It has to be illegal! Mind that I have been a good and loyal customer and nothing else for all those years!

  • Lu
      5th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes
    American Express - Reduction of credit line
    American Express
    United States

    After years of a good relationship;after inviting me to a higher level of credit, Platinum ($35.000) and with a balance of $11.000, without being late and paying a higher membership fee, without a curtesy call, let us say 6 months ago, they E-Mail me informing me of the reduction.Now even my FICOscore will be negatively effected. So my dear fellow Americans let us send American Express millions of e-mails telling them that behind every account there is a person, a family that takes PRIDE in having a good credit line. Thank you.

  • Ch
      23rd of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes
    American Express - Gift Card
    American Express
    6304 Morning Dew Drive
    United States
    Phone: 512-891-9543

    I recieved a Gift Card for Christmas with $25.00 on the account. I used the G.C. once, but not to it's full amount.
    I wanted to use this card again in combination with a few other G.C's I had recieved so I called the number on the back of the card to find out what my remaining balance was.
    The number I called had been changed so I took note of the new # that was given to me. I called the second # and was informed that it was no longer in service as well. My phone call was then automatically rolled over to a voice mail that was going to tell me the 3rd number to call, but was cut off in the middle of the information given. I was told by a computer voice to call again another time.
    After repeated attempts to find out my balance I gave up and determined that my family had just been "JIPPED".
    I will be informing them and anyone else who will listen not to purchase a gift card from American Express because if you don't use it all the first time you will get ripped off.

  • Ke
      27th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes
    American Express - Gas Rebate
    United States

    I was offered a gas rebate card for purchasing AmEx gift checks at the local mall. Of course, I followed the instructions carefully and received a letter back that my Gas Card had been denied for one of 6 listed reasons. I re-checked the application and rules for all 6 reasons and none should have disqualified me. The letter provided an invalid web address and I have been on hold for over 50 minutes to the phone number they listed.

    I'm sure they deny these as a matter of course and if I have the patience to remain on hold, I wonder what the outcome will be. Either way, this is a scam (most people won't bother going through all this and I'm sure they're counting on it) and I will never do business with this company again!

  • Ro
      11th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    My story is similar to yours. Although I just paid off my amex card to zero. My credit score is 720 (checked all three credit scores this morning) and they still canceled my card because on to other bank cards I have been making only minimum payments, while taking advantage of a great rate...maybe Amex is jealous! I WAS a loyal customer of AMEX, never missed a payment. Paid my balance down more often than not. I even paid the huge yearly fee...Okay, maybe I am dumb.LOL I went to use my card to buy gas, and it was denied. I had no warning, no courtesy phone call. I had to call them. I got the same treatment as you on the phone. The lady did indicate I could reapply. NEVER AGAIN!!! Amex should have their credit pulled and absolutely no bailout assistance. It sucks that I will have to pay taxes to help a company who treats loyal customers like trash. I say through them out with the trash!

  • 68
      12th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have experienced the same problems with this rebate.

  • Ir
      16th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    Might you have the phone number for AMX Customer Relations in Ft. Lauderdale? I got the person's name and complete address, but AMX would not give me a phome number. Thanking you in advance.

  • Tp
      24th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes
    American Express - Canceled My Card
    United States

    I have had my American Express card for just over a year. I pay my balance off every time I use my card on time never late. Without notice AMEX canceled my card. I called customer service and was told that I had high debt with other creditors. I have two credit cards or I should say I had two cards, AMEX and a Visa. I hardly use my visa and when I do, my balance has never been more than $200.00 and I always pay off the balance. This is the same with my AMEX cards. I told the customer agent this and asked where they got their info. She said from Experian. I checked my credit report monthly and I have a good credit score (over 700). I was told there was nothing they can do, but I can reapply for a new card. I told the agent I would not reapply and that I would tell people to never apply for a AMEX card.

  • Ru
      25th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    I agree and have just cancelled all my AMEX credit cards. The problem is worst than this..they are involved in systematic fraud thru their South American operations, which has cost me $2000 for a non authorized payment in Brazil. All efforts to have AMEX deal with the issue have failed and I am now reporting the matter to the RCMP commercial crimes division (being here in Canada)...but have no expectation of a result. I will avoid all contact with AMEX in future. They are involved in systematic fraud against their customers.

  • Co
      7th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes
    American Express - Lowered my Credit without Notice
    United States

    While traveling for my company, I was notified by the hotel that my card was declined. As I spoke with American Express customer service rep, they indicated that they were doing random review and decided to lower my limit down. This happened without proper and timely notification. This came without 30 days notice. I can do without this card and the lack of service and business sense necessary to stimulate the ecomony and its card holders.

    Amex needs to be investigated just like all the other finanical institutions. They are playing with fire!!

    This kind of bullying is typical of a larger company. But just like all the companies that have fallen, so will Amex. I plan to notify Costco of their partnership with this company and make them aware of this tactic. This will discourage Costco members from signing up with Amex/Costco.

  • In
      8th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    The same thing happened to me. I asked why I had not been notified and per the representative, A letter was mailed to me two weeks after the date it was lowered. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told that the other rep was new and had given me wrong information. I called again after the letter came to ask once again the date it was lowered, the new representative was correct the letter was mailed two weeks after the date. The supervisor had lied to me to protect the company.

  • Md
      10th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    Hi all,

    I am one more "not contacted but cancelled card" story based on my credit report. When I told them I have the credit report in front of me and they need to tell what has changed from the period they issued me the card they asked me to dispute it.

    I read a lot of these complaint on web and want to know if something can be done regarding this. I cant just see them taking our tax money to run their businesses and then tell us to get lost...

    ... I am really loosing my nerves over this and need some answerability. Any suggestion?

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