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American Express Optima / raising interest rates

NC, US Review updated:

Just got the same letter everyone else has gotten about American Express raising their rates. Not only are the existing rates usurous in view of the ridiculously low rates in the market today, the new rates are positively shameful. Thus, after being a customer for 28, count 'em 28 years, I have cancelled my account and three other accounts held by family members. I'd like to see how you're going to recoup earnings now, Amex! All the good, loyal customers are going to ditch you and leave you with all the deadbeats. You deserve it!

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  • Am
      Aug 21, 2009

    I got the same letter on about the same date. A notice of intent to raise APR. So I called to say, fine, close my account, I'll pay off at the existing rate. Guess what? The very apologetic Customer Service lady said no, actually you can close your account, but we're still going to raise your rate. When I expressed shocked disbelief, she said, "Well, the law changes today so we had to do it."

    In other words, "Before they make what we intend to do illegal, we're going to screw as many of our customers as we can." I pointed out that what they were doing was unique in my experience -- i.e., I've had other cards notify me of their intention to raise interest rates, but never had one behave so dishonorably as to unilaterally raise my rates despite closing my account. "Yeah, I'm really sorry, " the nice lady said.

    She sounded genuinely ashamed to be party to what the company was doing. I can't blame her. It's like working for one of those telephone operations where they sell fake burial plots or cancer insurance to fleece old people out of their savings.

    It is disgusting to think that the law, until now, allowed a company to do as Amex is doing in this case. Amex, despite its carefully groomed image, has decided instead to throw in with the bottom feeders: the loan sharks, war profiteers, companies that sell spoiled food to Third World countries, all with the excuse, "Well, it's legal."

    I'm writing to my congressman, both senators, every Amex celebrity spokesman and sending off press releases (talk is admittedly cheap, but at some point one of the press releases will get picked up). And of course closing my account, which I've since 1995. Never made an easier decision in my life.

    They're slime.

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