Yesterday, we read where American Express took $3.5 billion in bailout money, which was given to them for the purposes of opening credit for customers. Instead they are busy arbitrarily harassing paying customers.
Well that story is nothing compared to what else this insult of a company is up to.
Apparently, American Express is also dumping on customers who do business with vendors that are secretly blacklisted– because other customers who did business with them aren’t reliable American Express payers. That’s right. If you and I both made a purchase at The Widget Store and you didn’t pay your American Express bill on time, I can be blamed.
No kidding. You can’t make this smarmy shit up. Not only that, but these Bailout Thieves are surreal enough to actually send letters to customers on this subject.
In recent months, American Express has gone far beyond simply checking your credit score and making sure you pay on time. The company has been looking at home prices in your area, the type of mortgage lender you’re using and whether small-business card customers work in an industry under siege. It has also been looking at how you spend your money, searching for patterns or similarities to other customers who have trouble paying their bills.
In some instances, if it didn’t like what it was seeing, the company has cut customer credit lines. It laid out this logic in letters that infuriated many of the cardholders who received them. “Other customers who have used their card at establishments where you recently shopped,” one of those letters said, “have a poor repayment history with American Express.”
One disgusted customer pulled their pants down on “Good Morning America”. Bravo, dude!
The question, then, is how much of the data they can use before spooking their customers. Kevin D. Johnson, a 29-year-old Atlanta resident who runs a marketing and communications firm, received a letter from American Express last October saying that his credit limit was being lowered. One reason was that other customers who had used their cards at places where he had shopped were late in paying their bills.
The company couldn’t — or wouldn’t — tell him which charges had met with its disapproval. Frustrated, he told his story to the local newspaper and on “Good Morning America.” He also began documenting his experience on newcreditrules.com, where he posted the names of all the merchants he patronized, in the hope that other American Express customers would cross-check his list with theirs and solve the mystery.
When I queried the company this week, before it changed its policy, I noted that if it wouldn’t tell people which establishments were suspect, people would have no choice but to guess. The truly paranoid, presumably, would stop using American Express cards altogether.
Sounds like a plan. I urge everyone who reads this blog to stop using your American Express cards completely. I also think you should tell everyone you know about this company and recommend that they don’t use their cards either. Make AMEX pound salt.
One more thing: AMEX won’t let their customers know their list of vendors that would put them under “suspicion”.
But American Express couldn’t possibly go public with such a list. If it did, the merchants on the list, who generally pay the company a lot of money to accept its cards, would have a fit and hurl their Amex terminals into the nearest body of water.
I suggest you let all the vendors who accept your American Express card know that they might be on the American Express Black List. Heh.
I also wonder where they put the $3.5 billion dollars they stole from America–because they sure aren’t using it to open lines of credit. I think American Express should give us our money back. Our politicians say that this money is not traceable, which is testimony to their ineptitude to begin with. But it’s fairly easy to see where the money isn’t going. If we know what these companies are pulling, how come oour elected officials who handed out this money don’t know?
Too bad Nancy, Harry and Barack are too busy eating $100 a pound steak to be bothering with such trivia. I know our new Secretary of the Treasury is far too busy learning Turbo Tax to be bothered.