American Express / Costco / rebate scam
COSTCO offers an American Express card service that gives 3% back on purchases at their gas station. I applied for it and was approved. The ONLY reason I had to do that was to get the 3% rebate on my gas purchases. For one year, I went out of my way (about a mile) to fill up EXCLUSIVELY at COSTCO, because I wanted that 3% rebate at the end of the year.
Eleven months after I started this program, I got a letter from American Express telling me that my account was being cancelled, even though I always paid my balance and did not owe anything. I called them up and asked if I was still going to get my 3% rebate. The person I spoke to said "Yes, you will be getting a check in the mail." I waited a couple of months and still no check. I called them up again and this time the person I spoke to said "No." The reason she gave was, basically, that American Express didn't have to give me the money if it didn't feel like it. I asked to speak to a supervisor and she put me on hold. She got back to me after leaving me waiting on the phone about 10 minutes. She came back with a convoluted scheme that said I would not get a check but credit and I could later on use that credit to get a direct rebate. OK, I said I'll take it.
About a month later, I get a letter from American Express telling me that my rebate is being prepared and will be send to me in the near future. That was 2 months ago. It has now been 6 months since they cancelled my account and STILL not one penny from American Express.
I have complained to COSTCO-- they simply pass the buck on to American Express. But, even though COSTCO is aware of this problem (which, actually, amounts to a SCAM), and they agree with my case, they nevertheless CONTINUE to promote this scam to new customers.
Two points: our American government can come down very hard on small operations that use the "Bait and Switch" scam. But when it comes to large corporations, such as AT&T, American Express and COSTCO, our Justice Dept. looks the other way. Also: if you these companies think you owe them the tiniest amount-- even if that claim is contested and highly dubious-- they will pile up fees that will make the amount grow exponentially. But if they owe YOU money, they feel no obligation to compensate you for the loss of interest in the least degree-- you won't even get an apology from them.
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