Tell you what AMEX: Here’s $3.5 billion in bailout money. Now go and arbitrarily harass your paying customers

Thanks for the link Star.

Banks and other lenders nationwide, seeking to reduce their debt exposure, are shutting off and limiting consumer credit card lines, even for many customers who carry low balances and pay on time.

As much as $2 trillion in consumer credit – nearly half of what is available – could be rescinded, according to an estimate by a prominent banking analyst.

Before I continue, I would like you to know that American Express received $3.4 Billion in bailout money from Mr. Bernanke.

The credit squeeze doesn’t just limit spending potential; it can also damage cardholders’ credit ratings by making them appear to be riskier borrowers. And in many cases, the institutions pulling back on credit took government bailout funds that were supposed to encourage them to lend more freely.

Diana Lawton, a 44-year-old freelance writer in Chelmsford, is one of those being affected by the change in credit-line policies. She said American Express Co.called her last week to say her two charge cards – one personal, one for business – had been frozen pending a “financial review.” Lawton, who had been using the personal card since 1988, said she was stunned. The company offered no explanation, accord ing to Lawton, but told her she could apply for reinstatement by submitting two years of income tax returns, along with three months of pay stubs and bank records.

This could be you next.

Don’t forget to pay the IRS early this year! We need to send more money to AMEX so that they will give credit to consumers.  And the knife ran away with the spoon.

Outraged at having to undergo a 10-day investigation of her finances, Lawton canceled the cards. “I know the economy’s bad,” she said, “but this is just shocking to me.”

Good for you, girl!

 And here’s Bank of Americaaaaaaaaaaa!

Most bankers won’t offer details about the cutbacks, but acknowledge they are happening. Betty Reiss, a spokeswoman for Bank of America Corp., the nation’s second-largest card issuer, said, “We’re taking a more aggressive look at accounts in order to control risk in the current environment.” The bank is one of the biggest recipients of federal bailout funds – $45 billion.

Somebody needs to take  “a more aggressive look” at you, Bank of America. Where is America’s money?

Why hasn’t Barack Obama DEMANDED to know these details?

Why hasn’t Congress DEMANDED  that these details be revealed to the public? Because they are too busy paying back their special interests with a trillion dollars and  increasing their own individual petty cash pots by $93,000 this year, that’s why. Apparently, more than a million for each of them isn’t enough.

Who is watching the Watchers?

33 Responses

  1. My neighbor, a flight attendant for a MAJOR airline for 43 years, got a letter from AMEX last week, stating that she owed over $5K on a credit card that she had cancelled back in 2005!

    Long story short, and a half a day on the telephone, she discovered that it was “an error” on the part of AMEX.

    SHE is now required to contact all the 3 “Credit Rating” (HA!) Agencies and explain this fact. AMEX offered little help, but SAID they would send her a letter citing their error! (When the cows come home)

    It seems that this company is completely out of control. I can only imagine that there are MANY other people who are going to get letters of a similar nature. Some will be so afraid they will just “Send the Money”. In the event that they do not, AMEX will do ALL IT CAN to trash their credit and apply Obama’s Favorite TACTIC of “Universal Default” to try to ruin their lives in other areas of their credit.

    Personally, after some real “Stupid Tax” I have paid to the “We’re In Your Wallet” Company, CapitalistPigOne, I subscribe to the Dave Ramsey School of NO MORE CREDIT CARDS.

    Pay cash. Yes, cash. DO NOT continue to fall for the American LIE that you cannot survive without a credit card.

    You can. You should. And don’t worry if you think you cannot. As this story shows, it will be taken from you anyway.

    Stop Paying the Thieves of the American Taxpayer for the “privileged” of using thie (OUR) Money. Pay Cash.

  2. I dumped AMEX long ago.

    I can tell you that our government is chomping at the bit to get Americans to return to the credit card teat. Beware. People are hording and saving money. We used to call putting money aside “saving”. Now they call it “hording”. What does that tell you? This is not good for their perception of an “economy”. ‘Savers’ are screwing things up. They are trying to get you to spend so that the fat cats can get even fatter again. Don’t fall for it.If you don’t break them, they will break you. Americans need to learn to live within their means again, or they will pay the piper.

  3. My ex worked for Amex back in the 80s. He was in charge of the credit and collections department. When the downturn came about in the late 80s, he was given a very substantial package and left. He was not unhappy about the situation because, in one of our last contacts (we split in 82, messy other woman situation) he said that working for that company made him feel dirty and he had been looking for another job anyway. According to him, they had a standard procedure which did not consider individual circumstances. They were interested in the bottom line only, nothing else, and if they made errors, sobeit.
    Strange, in that for so many years, so many retailers would not accept Amex cards, because of the fees they charged retailers in addition to the interest they charged the card holders. Not that any credit card company is that much different – they all charge fees to the retailers and interest to the cardholders, yet Amex fees were higher than any other card. That’s why, per Freedom Fairy, it’s better whenever possible to pay cash. I won’t discount the advantage of a credit card, as it does establish a credit rating, but if you get one, then charge the item, go home and send a check or sign on internet banking, and pay the darned thing. Never, ever, ever carry a balance.
    I’m not sure if things have changed since I got out of the business, but in those days, if you paid immediately, the card company could not charge you interest. P.S. they used to (and still may) charge interest from the time you make the purchase, and not from the date that they issue the bill I.E. you could buy something on the 15th, but your bill date is the 14th of the following month. Interest would apply from the 16th, so that deal you got, was no longer a deal. Most people were unaware of that little nugget, so they happily bought that discounted piece of whatever, then ended up paying interest from the day after their purchase. I can’t tell you how many people challenged their statements, only to be advised that they didn’t read the small print in their credit card agreements. These companies are there to make money. they don’t give a flying monkey for their consumers. People need to educate themselves – read the small print! Pay cash, and if you need a credit card, pay off all purchases immediately, or if times have changed, within the billing cycle.

  4. The stock market grew 230% above it’s previous value in the 1990s. While that was great for everyone’s portfolio, 12% annual growth is at Madoff levels.

    The economy will now have to contract. Part of that contraction involves people saving their money. I had one credit card. They decided to suspend it because of a student loan that was unrelated and I still paid it off. I probably could have ignored it and waited 7 years for it to drop off. Now, I pay all my loans every month. I don’t intend to get another credit card in the future.

  5. HT,

    The billing cycle has been reduced to 25 days instead of 30, I think. I think you still can’t be charged interest if you pay when you get the first bill after the purchase. I think the industry refers to people who pay every month as “deadbeats.” They “use” their credit cards without paying the complimentary usuary rate.

    And everyone should know, don’t get cash advances (higher interest rate). If a credit card raises your interest rate, you can send a letter (no quick online button for this) to refuse, but they will freeze your account for new purchases.

    The interesting thing will be if people get their debt load near zero after this recession while the Feds keep deficit spending. Will there be a movement to punish the poeple who’ve been pushing pork all this time?

  6. this is probably why USPS is in the hole.
    credit card junk mail has stopped completely at my house for the last 2 months.
    “CapitalistPigOne” ROFL FF.
    i keep one card w/no balance for emergency like car rental or repair.
    gotta get to work no matter what.
    Home Depot too. for hurricane repairs mostly. insurance companies take forever to payout.
    don’t forget to keep your sales tax receipts FF.
    it’s deductable on fed income tax for FL residents.

  7. I have enjoyed keeping my money for a month thanks to credit cards. I’ve done it for years. I pay them off the minute the bill comes. If they all want to question me, they can kiss my butt. I will cancel them. I have a stellar credit rating but it has occurred to me that I don’t need my credit rating. I have no intention of making a loan or making car payments. Screw them. I never got caught up in their web and I am not going to start now. I don’t need them and if they plan to survive they will need the customer, not the other way around. It’s about time America got out of the negative savings category thanks to credit card companies. But make no mistake, Joe Biden will be working really hard to think up ways to keep his Delaware card center going. Do NOT fall for it.

    I have watched these companies rip people off for years with double digit interest rates. I have been shocked at the rates some people were even willing to pay for the “pleasure” of looking like they have more than they do. The fact is, if you have the right credit rating, you do not have to take this crap. You could have forced the company to reduce your rate considerably long ago. It’s just that very few people know this. They have been pigs at the trough for far too long. Let THEM eat cake. I don’t even care what happens to my 401k any longer. I am that angry. I hope every single person who gets that pissant “rebate” socks it away or pays off a credit card and leaves it with a zero balance. Those who run out and buy a teeeeeeeee veeeeeeeeeee get what they deserve in the end. Some people are so stupid, you just can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. When the giveaway runs out, they belong along side the credit card companies, hanging in the wind.

  8. Raging, I am still getting offers and “checks”. Sign here sucker. I put X’s thru them, write “recycle” on them and stuff them back in their envelope for them to disposition. I get a huge kick out of doing that. I opted out fo receiving this crap long ago but companies you already “do business” with can keep doing it.

    I have a low interest card with Capitalist One. They keep trying to entice me to take another type of card so they can trash my other card and I can end up with a higher rate after my little party is over with the ‘introductory” rate. What really shocks me is how many people fell for this crap for so many years. The more cards you collect, the more it impacts your credit rating. The credit is ‘availalble’ to you, which means you begin to be a risk. You do no favors to yourself by collecting cards. Does anybody really think these companies did these ‘offers’ to benefit YOU?

    As for AMEX, I saw enough horror stories to dump them long ago. They are not a business person’s friend no matter how endearing their TV commercials were. And their mistakes are always in THEIR favor.

  9. USPS is in a hole because they are an inept dinosaur. If USPS weren’t a forced monopoly nobody would use them. They have refused to keep up with the times and technology passed them long ago in spite of their monopoly. It all started with Fax machines. That far back. They just like to make believe nothing has changed and the world has to use them. Well they don’t.

    I use exactly four stamps per month. And soon, it will be reduced to three. Fed Ex could do their job cheaper and better with their hands tied behind their backs.

    USPS is managerment top heavy, with a lot of slugs hanging around getting in the way of everybody else. The only thing they are good for is raising their ludicrous rates. They operate on the old-time union system. This is your job, I will just sit here till you do yours and then I will do mine. Cha ching.

    They do not deliver the mail reliably any longer as it is. So what’s one more day? I have had dividend checks and checking account statements delivered to other homes. I have received mail-in medications that didn’t belong to me. I get mail regularly addressed to people I never heard of. Who the hell needs them besides junk mailers?

    Last year I sent some stock certificates in for cashing using Express mail and their computer system was so screwed up it recorded that the certificates were received two months later, before the date even occurred. These people exist only because they are a monopoly. So what’s their answer? Cut down mail delivery days. That should endear them to the people even more, ya think? Raise rates, cut services. It’s the Government Way.

    I remember when everybody knew their mailman. Now they hire “permanent part time” people who can’t even read what street they are on so they dump mail in the wrong boxes and on the wrong streets. The person changes from week to week so they can’t even learn their route if they want to. They hire pissants for the summer to deliver mail. Do we really think these kids give a shit if they get it wrong? They will be gone in September. The only thing that stays stable is non-value-added Management who provide nothing directly to the customer. I have felt for years that the USPS thinks THEY are MY customer. I avoid them whenever I can ever since I sent a package in 2005. I am still waiting for it to arrive. Now they even took the stamp machines out of the post offices because they are too lazy to service the machines. So you have to stand in line (and you ALWAYS stand in line) to buy stamps.

    I know a legally blind man who runs a satellite operation with UPS and when you go into his place he treats you like a human being and a customer. You send your package it is always gets there. He puts the post office to shame. He’s a one man operation. Obviously, the USPS either refuses or is not capable of running lean while pleasing its customer.

    USPS is dying on the vine and they are too arrogant to even acknowledge it. So now they can lose mail five days a week instead of six. The only reason I use two of my stamps per month is because I don’t trust the two companies with my checking account number. Otherwise USPS would serve no purpose to me whatsoever, save for all my catalogues.

  10. Wow, I’ve never had trouble with AMEX. It’s the only card I use but I’ll be on the lookout. On the other hand, to see some of these companies returning to the underwriting of 20 years ago doesn’t seem all bad to me. Wasn’t part of the problem easy credit?

    When I got out of college the only place that would give me a credit card (besides oil companies) was my bank (where I had a small savings account). . .I’m not sure that was a bad practice. Of course I hated the whole concept of owing anybody so I used the card sparingly and for my own convenience, rarely charging anything I didn’t pay off on the first statement. PAYGO isn’t just for the government.

  11. I rec’ emails from Amex to expect letters from them concerning my accounts. They did arrive whilst I was in the midst of reorganizing as I moved. I finally opened them along with other notices and I was shocked to read the laundry list of reasons why I no am a preferred customer. I’ve had a gold card since 1989 and I’m talking 10s upon 10s of Gs of faithful business w them thru out the years. I was shattered. I crumpled the letters and cut my card into tiny pieces.

    Friends, I cannot tell you the degree of ire I feel these days no matter the subject.

    My head swarms with concerns and I know I am not paranoid.

    Uppity thanks for keeping us posted. Can you even imagine what is really going on.

    They’ve been fuc’n with our food for years, too. Wonder when that’s going to blow up.

    I think its time to pay a little attention to the so called Conspiracy Kooks. I think they may have been onto something afterall.

    Where have all the flowers gone? Along with the demise of Mom and Pop shops. The beginning of the end. How “convenient”?

  12. Well, you guys are great, paying off cards each month, etc. But I am more of an average American. I have been self-employed for 28 yrs–the cards are my cushion. I owe a lot. I dumped Amex a long time ago when they came for their yearly fee and I saw I was not using it much. I use one card for online–so as not to expose other numbers. That way I can complain if I get ripped off. I also use the US mail and want my damn Sat deliveries. And, if they give some stupid rebate and people buy a TV–why not–maybe we can start making TVs in the US again.

  13. PBS Frontline ran a doc on the history of credit card industry. it’s free to watch on their site. good cure for the compulsive spender. I shred the cc offers. no matter how many times I’ve opted out of junk mailings, they start up again. everything just stopped a few months ago. no mortgage re-fi offers either. if you knew what kind of ppl processed credit card apps & sales you would never use them.
    I worked for a junk mailing wharehouse many yrs ago. security was nil. one of my neighbors bought a home & couple of cars in CA using apps stolen from mailboxes. FBI & the Postmaster showed up to haul him off. the house he was renting has been in foreclosure for 2 yrs.
    it’s easy for mail list providers to confuse names & addresses. I was getting bank statements for other ppl. Washington Mutual is the worst. got a box of checks for a GA based company using my address. WaMu wouldn’t correct or acknowledge the issue when I called.
    worked for 2 large employers in the past 8 yrs whose HR dept accidently gave up SS #’s. they took their time reporting it too. one large utility which shall be nameless just recently deployed encryption software to laptops, after several of them were stolen w/confidential info.
    too many companies distribute laptops & bb’s without providing security trng or software. some have very weak security. worked at a mobile phone callcenter where the police where in at least twice a week to arrest card # thieves. all employees had those useless pre-employment background checks too. when you pay ppl $7/hr & push them too hard that’s what happens.
    President BOzo wants my health records in a national db? no way. my city has done that for emergency services access, on a voluntary basis. they can get it off my refrigerator if they need it.
    I’m minimizing exposure as much as possible. not too sure about signing up for Paypal either. I’ve read some bad things about it.
    they sell stamps at most supermarket checkouts UW.

    major data breach announced on Inauguration day when nobody was listening:,0,6788414.story

  14. We aren’t going to make TVs in the USA again when they can make far more profit making them elsewhere. Nobody wants to pay twice as much for a TV or anything else. A GOOD bet is, we will see MORE jobs go overseas because of the new Unsecret Ballot thing where union leaders can knock on your door and TELL you that you want to unionize. If they try that crap at the Toyota plants, you will hear another giant sucking sound. They will stop making cars here, or at least do a LOT more outsourcing. You can always tell which “side” is in power, by who starts to stupidly and greedily abuse their power. This switching back and forth between greasing management and greasing labor is going to be the downfall in the end.

    The economy is in the crapper and we are going to force unions on companies that can just MOVE out? I know business people who keep their employee limit down so they don’t have to be forced to follow laws that ruin their businesses (eg paying for health care). It’s not because they are mean, it’s because they are in business to make money not lose money. You will see the same thing happen with this new law. They will set an employee minimum where companies will be forced to unionize, and you will see droves of companies go one below that minimum. Why don’t people understand this?

    This crap is holding down employment and it will get worse.

    What we need to do is enforce labor laws and hold companies’ feet to the fire, so that the Walmarts of America don’t get caught having 15 year old summer hires wielding chain saws–and get away with it. AGAIN. You don’t need a union for that. You need an honest government agency, of which we have none. The FDA, The Dept of Labor, all of them are corrupt political organizations taking orders from politicians and getting their money from the very people they are supposed to monitor.

    Both sides are over the top in this problem because our two parties keep it that way. One’s the We party and the other is the They party. And if somebody doesn’t demand they BOTH fix it soon, I don’t see hope.

    Right now, taxpayers are making payroll for GM and Chrysler. In February they will be back. Nothing will change if we don’t just tell them all to fix it themselves. They will come back for more billions and brag on what they “improved” cost-wise, but then how come you are coming back?

  15. Hmmm, Uppity–I am not hearing change here….

  16. LOL shocking, isn’t it?

  17. most of them have never managed a business outside of a Legal office. that’s why they don’t know shit.
    my dad was an HR manager back in the days when they weren’t just corporate stooges. he always said it’s best to treat employees (usually men) well to keep unions out. he was always fighting with upper mgmt on labor/safety issues. he actually created benefit packages, not just admin them. after 19 yrs he was encouraged to leave. the union took over, that plant went downhill & eventually closed.
    companies mid & large size now barely stay competitive by hiring cheap labor that turns over before benefits kick in. or they keep a couple long term deadbeats till retirement & hire cheap contract slave labor to prop them up. no bennies of course.
    you get what you pay for.

  18. Nancy needs that extra petty cash.
    do you expect her cats to eat leftovers?

  19. Last night when I logged onto my credit card site there was a big red notice stating that due to the possibility of unauthorized use, my account had been closed and a new card was sent to me. I checked the activity to see if anything looked off (that’s why I had logged on in the first place – I do it regularly), and there were no strange charges, but the running balance didn’t match the amount I had just used to pay off the full balance due (electronic payment just cleared my bank); it was lower. I’d been planning to replace the card anyway after Citi more than tripled the rate for no reason whatsoever (no worries – I always pay it off in full), and now I have another really good reason to do so.

    What I find odd is that I’ve had instances of potential breech before, and all they do is send you a notice and maybe offer to pay for a credit watch for a year. Suddenly they’re cutting off the account without me complaining about theft or unauthorized use? Seems mighty strange to me. Has anybody heard of something more than the FL problem while the Feds were playing coronation?

  20. Apparently nancy thinks two cats living their entire lives in an office is supposed to endear her to us. I don’t see her taking them home with her at night.

  21. …and I’m sure the secretaries feed them. And that black one needs a brush.

  22. GG, would have been lovely if you didn’t log on and tried to use the card.

    I’ve never heard of such a thing. I’ve gotten calls from a card company to ask if a specific charge was mine after having not used the card for awhile. Nothing more than that. If they suspect unauthorized use, they generally call you to confirm or deny the charge.

  23. I know you hate the NYT–but I go there–and today I see a somewhat jaundiced view of the Economic Savior:

  24. Sorry the above url was partway through the list…you can find the beginning with both hands, right? I am going to gather up the four-leggers and listen to an audio book.

  25. raGing, interesting about the data breach and scary I’m in Florida too. That’s all I need! Thanks for the tip.

    Several years ago an unnamed major bailout snorting bank made a big error. One of their honchos was “working” off site and had a boat load of records faxed to them. These records were expense accounts complete with credit card numbers for several of the biggest retail names you can think of. The assistant at the home office mixed up the fax number and faxed it all to my house. My fax machine ran for hours.

    We called the headquarters and their response was ooops, could you pretty please shred all that. They never sent anybody to my house to take a report or to verify whether I destroyed the information. That was a real eye opener, I figure if they are that careless with the world’s largest retailers accounts what in the hell do they care about my little accounts.

    Truth is I could have been a very wealthy gal that day, if only I had a criminal mind! I’d need criminal nerves too, way to chicken for something like that. I’d be on the TV doing the perp walk, yep they’d made an example out of me.

  26. nice view from that office. they can see the Washington monument.
    “Apparently nancy thinks two cats living their entire lives in an office is supposed to endear her to us. I don’t see her taking them home with her at night.”
    they probably fly home to SF first class at least once a month on her private jet.
    paid for by your tax $$.

    report her to PETA for animal abuse.

    nobody & GG, the FL breach was part of a larger scheme still under investigation.
    it involves other states too.

  27. UW – here in NYC, many mailmen don’t even speak ENGLISH. Counter clerks either!! It’s a joke.

    As for Amex, when I became disabled 16 years ago I had an Amex Corp. card. I immediately started to pay it off but my employer & insurer held up a lot of my money. Amex didn’t want to hear it. I recieved 3 pieces of dunning mail a day and up to 13 phone calls a day. They even called my DOCTOR! A few times.

    That was before all the strict creditor harassment laws we adopted. I paid them off but I am not surprised they are right back at it. So is VISA I hear. It’s ridiculous.

  28. Another bunch of Phishing thieves. Got a text message today like the ones listed on this site – from the same Phone Number. Scroll down to read comments.

    Bastards everywhere….

  29. i use one credit card..i make money from it they make no money from me.
    never had amex…

  30. At my post office, the stamp machine was replaced by the “automated” postal machine. You can buy stamps on it, but only with a credit card. You’re better off going to the Customer Service desk at your local supermarket and buying a book.

    Technology has actually improved things, but caused almost equal problems. Faxing and e-mail have lead to additional junk spam. The internet has made it so you need a credit card these days. But even when we save money, something new and costly comes along to replace it.

  31. […] which was given to them for the purposes of opening credit for customers. Instead they are busy arbitrarily harassing paying […]

  32. My debit card had that happen a couple of months ago. Tried to use it, it was declined (which flipped me out b/c it is my checking account). Checked it online, money in account……finally called the number on the back…..some “security breach” made them stop a number of accounts. No notice, phone call, nothing. I had to go to my bank and apply for a new card. Checked my credit, nothing reported. This has happened to my husband a couple of times.

    Bank of America is the one that messed us up. I have had a card with them since I was in college. Up until a couple of years ago, when the economy started slowing for our business, I almost always paid off my card in full. At the very least, the balance would grow and then we’d make a little extra money and I’d write a big check and pay it all off, so I had a great line of credit on there. Last year, for a few months, paid a little more than minimum payment on the balance. It is on auto-deduct, so there are no late payments in our history. First they dropped our limit to what I had on it and hiked the interest rate, then I got charged for an overlimit balance, then I got a notice that they had suspended my card so I just needed to continue payment on it but I have no more charging ability. Just got notice of the annual fee being charged for “administrative” purposes. I am working like a dog to get this account paid off so I can tell them to kiss my a**. I did charge what I charged on it, so I have no one to blame but myself, dang it. Stupid tax is right. Compounding stupid tax really ticks me off.

  33. I was watching CNBC…They literally said: “People saving their money is the biggest problem right now. Every 1% increase in savings account activity translates to 10’s of billions PULLED OUT of the economy”…WHAT!? Free market my A$$. AND THEN one of the geniuses suggested a focused TAX increase on SAVINGS accounts!

    Screw these scum bags…..I’m joining the USA spending moratorium. I will buy food ONLY….when I’m not growing it. And the money is under the mattress.

    USA, we must join forces and starve Wall Street out…they stole from us…now we have to starve them out.

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