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American Express Complaint - American Express raises interest rate - American Express Blue
American Express Complaint

American Express Complaint


American Express raises interest rate - American Express Blue

I just spent 63 minutes on the phone with American Express (most of the time on hold) trying to get someone to explain why 1) they lowered my credit limit and 2) why they raised my interest rate by 3%.

I was told that my credit limit was being decreased because I wasn't making large enough payments. For the past five months, my minimum payments totaled $829 while my payments totaled $1200. The customer service rep I spoke with, Kimone, informed me that the amount I paid was not enough to prevent my credit limit from being lowered. When I asked how much was enough to keep it from being decreased, she told me she didn't know but that "the customer is supposed to know to pay more." I fail to see the logic.

After having the second customer service rep, Darnell, keep me on hold for over 30 minutes in order to verify that American Express was raising my interest rate, he then transferred me to the third rep, Shanaine, who when asked why my interest rate was being raised replied "it's hard to say." World class customer service!

I must say I have been an American Express card holder for over 6 years and have NEVER had one problem. It's sad that they have decided to make the "little guy" pay for other's financial mistakes. I plan on taking out a personal loan and paying off this account (the same as I did with Discover - at a much lower interest rate).

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arktxa says: (5 years ago)
You think you got raped? I have been a customer for 40 years and when I was late one month on paying full balance on green card they gigged my credit. When I asked for a good will adjustment they said they did not do adjustments because it would be against the law. My credit rating dropped almost 40 points. 40 years!

Makagrano says: (7 years ago)
I can't believe this! Same story here. They increase my apr to 15.99 without notice. I am asking my bank for a personal loan to close this account. How can this be legal? This is legalized loan sharking. A bonafide mafia.
They have lost a customer for ever. But it is ok, they have lots of customers.

dellmayor says: (8 years ago)
Maybe somebody's on to their game - see below

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against American Express Regarding Improper Increases in Customer Credit Card Interest Rates

Lawsuit claims that the decision of American Express to stop tying credit card interest rates to the Prime Rate breached the company's credit card agreements and violated the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) September 17, 2010

Atlanta law firm Webb, Klase & Lemond, LLC has filed a class action lawsuit against American Express alleging that the company unilaterally increased consumer interest rates in violation of the applicable credit card agreements. The complaint asserts that these increases were contrary to American Express' long-standing practice of tying its rates on many credit card accounts to the Prime Rate, the interest rate charged by banks to their most creditworthy customers. This commitment was established in the company's form contracts and through years of consistent dealings with customers according to the suit. The complaint states that American Express raised rates even for consumers who have always maintained their good standing by satisfying all account requirements, such as making required payments and not exceeding credit limits. Furthermore, the plaintiff claims American Express has taken such action even against those whose credit scores and general creditworthiness have not declined. The suit requests that customers be refunded all excessive interest charges in addition to several other forms of relief. The case, styled Meeks v. American Express Centurion Bank, Inc., is pending in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia and has been assigned Case Number 2010CV190851.

According to the suit, for several years Mr. Meeks was charged a "fixed-variable" interest rate equal to the Prime Rate plus a "marginal rate" of 2.99 percent. In this manner, the plaintiff claims the company's interest rates tracked the Prime Rate, moving up when the Prime Rate climbed and down when the Prime Rate fell. The complaint asserts that the company unilaterally ended this practice in late 2008 and throughout 2009 by periodically increasing customers' marginal rates such that - even as the Prime Rate fell to historic lows - customers suffered higher and higher interest charges. For example, Mr. Meeks' marginal rate went from 2.99 percent to 11.99 percent and thus, even with the Prime Rate at 3.25 percent, American Express charged him interest of over 15 percent, according to the lawsuit. Mr. Meeks claims the improper and excessive rate hikes have cost him hundreds of dollars and more than doubled his monthly payments.

The lawsuit asserts that American Express imposed these higher rates even on existing customer balances. In addition, the suit alleges that American Express's offer that customers could reject this interest rate increase by freezing or closing their credit card accounts is inadequate because, as the company is well aware, most consumers rely on their credit card accounts and closing any credit line has a negative impact on a consumer's credit score. As a result, the complaint contends that customers have been forced to accept American Express' unilateral rate increases.

If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this press release, please contact Webb, Klase & Lemond by e-mail at contact(at)webbllc(dot)com or by calling (770) 444-9325.

jj200169 says: (8 years ago)
I had an AMEX for 6 years now, went from 6.99 fixed to 17.99 variable rate. I was told if I closed my account it would stay 6.99 until paid off ( this was 6 months age now). My bill last month was 17.99 so I called and was told there was nothing I could do about it. I never missed a payment or just made the minnimum payment. Usually doubled the minnimum and was told that wasnt enough to keep my rate at 6.99. They need to pay back the 4 billion to the govornment and guess who is stuck paying for it. The consumer that never missed payments. What a crock of BS.

disgusted09 says: (8 years ago)
It's not just you - I had been a customer with AmExp for 25 years. Closed the account earlier in the year after they lowered credit line (never a late payment) and now find out they've increase interest rate by 2% on a closed account. No satisfaction by reps. They can kiss their business good-bye if they continue to treat loyal customers like this.

cleanhonda says: (8 years ago)
I started this "review" thinking that I was the only poor soul getting screwed by AE. Over the past months, I've learned that's not the case. Lots of good AE customers are being ripped off while the company continues to post profits. As many of you have experienced, AE does not care about it's customers and will not listen to reason. I have yet to see any postings where an AE customer has been able to get them to reduce their interest rate or even allow them to close the account and pay it off at the original interest rate (after raising it). After being made to feel like a credit risk by AE (although my credit score has improved over the past months), I sheepishly went to my credit union and applied for a personal loan which I received. I very happily paid off AE and saved myself 4.65% interest (fixed, not variable as AE tried to charge) in the process. The account is closed and I will never do business with them again, even though they have already been e-mailing me surveys asking about my experience with them - right. It's too late for that. I will continue to monitor this site in hopes of seeing others doing as I did and coming up with a better solution than continuing to play by AE's rules. Good luck to everyone!

vinnie1212 says: (8 years ago)
I have Am Exp Blue for 5 years and my interest went from 8.99% fixed to 15.99% variable. So I called AE and I told them that i want my credit closed 3 months before the higher int rate went up.I always paid on time and doubled my payment every month.

kh5423 says: (8 years ago)
Yes, we received the same letter in Aug stating that our interest rate would change to a variable rate in October. I called and spoke with multiple representatives. We have never had a problem with AMEX before. Our interest rate went from 7.99% to 15.24%. The supervisor I spoke with confirmed that we have consistently paid our bill on time, pay more than the miniumum payment and are "valued" customers. I transferred balances from other cards to AMEX because of their past good customer service and competitive rate. Those balances were supposed to be locked in at 7.99% till the balances were paid off. I have not have time, but wanted to seek legal cousel as well because I believe they have without question violated contract law. It is truly unfortunate that a company so many people trusted has turned so completely criminal. Legal "loan sharking"......if it truly is legal.

AntiAmericanExpress says: (9 years ago)
American Express Rip-off are just a bunch of thieves. After 20 years with the, they increased my rate from 10% to 28%. Thinking of not paying any of the balance, no reason to pay to this mafia company.

omniohl1 says: (9 years ago)
August 9, 2009

To: Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Chenault, American Express
Executive Offices 
American Express Company 

200 Vesey Street

New York, New York 10285


From: Dr. Curtis J. Ohl American Express member since 2002
61000 Gold Business Account
34002 Platinum Account

RE: This is a letter seeking redress of our $40,000 credit limit reduced to $6,000. Please read our letter and we await your timely response.

Time to leave home without American Express!

As long time customers of American Express let us share our frustration and disappointment in the way this company has been treating us and indeed many card members during this past year. Our cascading grief is over American Express reduction of our credit limits, and raising credit card interest rates. American Express is reacting to the financial crisis out of fear. The financial damage to American Express will be long lasting and far-reaching.

Let us give you a little history as to what type of customers we have been. Our payments are always on time to all our creditors. Our story is like so many other card members. We have two open accounts with American Express. We have been members for seven years, perfect credit with long established payment history, FICO scores over 800 but only Amex has tampered with our credit limits. Only Amex has seen this pressing need to reduce our credit limits. We called Costco and took off the auto renewal for Amex, we no longer want American Express to continue any further unilateral credit damage to our pristine credit portfolio. American Express can no longer be trusted with our credit. We have stayed the course but American Express has run into the economic ditch!

We have called several times, talked to numerous staff, those who survived, faxed our request with supporting documentation and now we are writing to you for redress. In the past it was a punishment to raise interest rates for those who could not pay their debt on time. Is this our reward for being loyal card members with established credit histories, to raise our interest rates for paying our debt on time? We suggest, just as American Express looks ever so closely at our credit worthiness, we look to the executive board and CEO for leadership worthiness!

These actions take us back to a time where perhaps Pony Express might be a better company name. American Express is in total freefall. American Express is failing to provide customer service with a total disregard for ethics and indifference to the many card members. It seems we are going back in time with Pony American Express. 

We just recently read of American Express filing a lawsuit against the infamous Courtney Love. Legal papers showed the rocker owes $352,059.67 in unpaid charges and fees on her Amex Gold Card – which has since been suspended by the company.

So let us understand, American Express trusted a well-known drug addict, notorious for her litigation in not paying bills and American Express extended credit on a gold card for $350,000 but Amex cannot restore our previous credit limit of $40,000? We pay all our bills on time, never been late on any of our payments and we are not drug addicts, in fact we do not even use drugs, not even the good kind!

American Express will never need to file litigation against us but we know so many who want to file a class action lawsuit against American Express.

We jumped through the languishing morass of the many hoops of fire and sent in our full credit report, tax returns and listed assets along with an overall financial statement.
We are writing to inform you that, after reviewing your letter of August 2009 denying us our credit increase, with obfuscated contrived reasons we will not accept this treatment from American Express.
We are financially solid and have not changed, we are not sure the same can be said of the financial hemorrhaging of American Express that will hold another round of layoffs, after cutting 7,000 jobs in October 2008, decimating its work force along with frozen salaries and good luck with that Courtney Love lawsuit. It was sadly, no surprise, when we read your computer-generated letter of indifference. The famous words of Thomas Jefferson rang so true “Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.”
In July of 2009, American Express itself stated second-quarter net income came in at $337 million, down 48% from 2008 when the company made $653 million. This net income attributable to common shareholders was only 9 cents a share, down from 56 cents a share in the year-ago quarter, according to the company.
At the same time net write-offs for the company were 10% of total loans in American Express's U.S. card-services business in the second quarter. Loans that were at least 30 days delinquent represented 4.4% of total loans in the latest period, up from 3.3% a year earlier. We do read the Wall Street Journal.
Yet with all this bad news, there was one bright spot as stated by the financial leader of American Express, Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault:
“The number of card members who are falling behind in their payments, the volume of bankruptcy filings and the level of loan write-offs were better than we had expected.”
“If these trends continue, we expect U.S. lending write-off rates on a managed basis to be below 10% for the second half of the year, which is lower than the outlook we offered earlier this year,” Mr. Chenault added.
Yet American Express continues to punish us, the good card members, why? Is it out of fear that we might increase the financial bloodletting? I do not think you need our help for that! May I suggest a bold new direction, take care of the customer first and the bottom line will follow!
American Express appears, as a company, to be in poor financial shape, and undercapitalized. Since we take our financial life seriously, we cannot be associated with a financial company that manages to loose so many employees, assets and runs its own affairs so poorly.
We are not proud of our American Express relationship, are you proud of your leadership? In addition, American Express has too many bad reviews within the consumer community, and your overall rating on every consumer site, is a very poor rating.
I looked, in vain, for a POSITIVE review of your company from any person or news source, and could not find even one except for the mysterious award from JD Powers. Even JD Powers would not return my calls when I asked them to define further what criteria they used to base American Express only award of “good customer service.”
This recession will not last forever. When it is over, and people choose the few credit cards they are willing to use, there will be fewer companies and cards to choose from. The ones who will survive are the ones who realize that the only thing that keeps a credit card company afloat are customers who accept a card, use it, and pay their bills. The companies who will be in business then are the ones who take care of that good group of people today. You are clearly NOT taking care of your good customers today, so I don’t expect you to be in business then.

American Express has raised our interest rates on not only new purchases but on all existing balances. In fact when Congress passed the Credit Card Reform Act, this is exactly what they wanted to prevent Credit Card Companies from doing.

We also found this very interesting from Financial News USA. WASHINGTON (AP) -- American Express Co. spent $710,000 lobbying the federal government in the second quarter on legislation touching on an array of financial issues, a recent disclosure report shows. The article continues with American Express lobbied lawmakers on legislation related to credit card fees and practices, data security and consumer privacy.

American Express also lobbied in the April-June period on consumer bankruptcy, advertising and taxes.
 Beside Congress, the company lobbied the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Office of Thrift Supervision, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Internal Revenue Service and Executive Office of the President, according to the report filed July 20 with the House clerk's office.
The $710,000 spent by American Express in the second quarter compares with $830,000 in the first quarter, and nearly $1.1 million in the year-ago period. We were amazed to find American Express on the fast track to being granted banking status in just a 30 day period. This usually takes much longer. Of course with this banking status, the company gained over 3 billion in TARP funds.
It was not so nice for American Express to get credit but deny the card members credit.
Our final question, was the $710,000 well spent for the persuasion of influence in Washington DC? While your company is loosing funding, market share, customers, bad debt write offs, against a backdrop of massive company layoffs and your increasing salary of over 42 million with a base salary, cash bonus, stock and other options was it all worth it? Just curious!
So Mr. Kenneth Chenault can you redress this issue with our credit limit or do we need to hold American Express accountable in the court of public opinion? The choice is yours.

Waiting your reply,

Curtis Ohl

tonyde says: (9 years ago)
just got mine increased 3% because they wanted too. Called them and they said i couldn't opt out back in August because they won't let you pay off the balance at the old rate. I will pay this off and never have a American Express rip off card again. They say they can raise it at anytime they wanted. Watch out for AE

tonyde says: (9 years ago)
just got mine increased 3% because they wanted too. Called them and they said i couldn't opt out back in August because they won't let you pay off the balance at the old rate. I will pay this off and never have a American Express rip off card again. They say they can raise it at anytime they wanted. Watch out for AE

AzIndependent says: (9 years ago)
And ... They are not offering an opt-out option.
Pretty low!

AzIndependent says: (9 years ago)
And ... They are not offering an opt-out option.
Pretty low!

AMEXCardHolder says: (9 years ago)

AMEXCardHolder says: (9 years ago)

AMEXCardHolder says: (9 years ago)

amexsux says: (9 years ago)
I just got my letter - raised me from 11.24 to 17.24 for NO REASON!!! I have been a GOOD CUSTOMER for 6+ years, have always paid on time, and have spent tons of money on which they have made tons with their fees. I am going to stop using it and switch my automatic debits to another card. This new rate is DOUBLE that of any other card I have! Are they stupid!??!

billp4444 says: (9 years ago)
They did the same thing to me. They lowered my credit limit from 30K to just over what my outstanding balance was (4K) with no notice. I had the card for years, had a high balance of 16K, paid it to 0. They recently increased my limit to 30K until dropping it to 4.

I told them I really didn't care -- it's their card but I was immediately cutting up the card and sending in a check for the balance, which I did last night.

windego says: (9 years ago)
AMEX just informed me that even if you close your account, there will be rate increases on balances in November!! Here's part of the email response I received about the rate increases and closing my account:

would like to inform you that the Annual Percentage Rate (APRs) will be revised with effect from November 2009. Therefore, you will be assessed with the new APRs if there is a balance on your closed account.

If you wish to cancel your Card, you may call the number on the back of your Card (24 hours/7 days) or write an email to us requesting a cancellation.

Alternately, you may send us a written communication requesting to cancel your account at the address mentioned below:

American Express
P.O. Box 981535
El Paso, TX 79998

Once we receive a formal notification from you authorizing us to cancel your account, we will proceed accordingly.

I wish to assure you that you are a Valued Cardmember and we are sensitive to your concerns.

Additionally, we assure you of our best attention at all times.

cleanhonda says: (9 years ago)
I started this blog about 7 months ago when AE raised my interest rate by 3% for no particular reason. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to add their comments and experiences. At that time, I was told that my account would be reviewed in 6 months and my interest rate could POSSIBLY be reduced at that time. On August 5, I receive a letter informing me that they are changing my fixed rate to a variable rate, which equals 15.24% at the present time. I haven't made any major purchases and have always paid more than the minimum payment on always on time. This is the treatment they are giving their "good" customers? I don't get it. They were the best credit card company I have ever dealt with until the past year or so when they decided to get rid of me. Has anyone else received the "Important Account Price Increase Notification" letter???

wildamber says: (9 years ago)
I have had Amex for 20+ years -- but same story... interestingly, got the notice of increase the month after I did the unusual and actually used the card for a large ($3000+) purchase. Hmmmm... I too plan to get off of credit cards entirely. If you cannot count on your yers of developing a good credit history in hard times, what's the point? Better off using (gasp!) a savings account instead.

meowdy says: (9 years ago)
yes, I received a letter in the mail that Am Ex is raising my rate on my Blue card. I am in the same situation. Rate raised 3% with no explanation exceptto say it was across the board. I spoke with the manager of the cust svc rep who was of no help. Been a customer for 19 years & pay over the min. and always on time. They have lost a customer!

I asked AmEx to file a complaint and they did register it for me and told me I would be receiving a form or an email to do so, and today in my email i received a notice from an independent company to complete a survey about my phone call to AmEx Blue. It took about 2 minutes to let them know that when i pay off my Blue card I am never going back to Am Ex Blue.....if they mess with my Gold account , it will be the same.

HammerUK says: (9 years ago)
It gets worse! I had a £10K unused limit and in November 2006 opted for an 'ongoing rate of 9.9%' All I had to do to keep this rate was to make payments on time! Amex wrote to me in December and said use the card or lose it... so I used £5K's worth assuming correctly that I was still on the 'ongoing rate of 9.9% and within a few weeks they then increased the rate to 14.9%!! I have had 2 letters confirming their right to do this, but the terminology in the offer is at best ambiguous and I am now considering legal action. Apart from the legality of the terminology within the offer I think its particularly bad of Amex to encourage use of the card without mentioning that they are going to put the rate up by 50%!! I think that if I consult the right people that they might get the card rate down to 0% or cancelled without debt... so why do they play hardball over this.

keithedwards says: (9 years ago)
i closed my account 2 years ago and been paying on a 7000.00 balance they raised my rates to 27.4 percent at 168.00 a month just on intrerest. not sure if how they get away with that. when my account has been closed

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