More on Bailout Ripoff People at American Express

moneyhappiness_vl-vertical1Yesterday, 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, 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.

24 Responses

  1. Our business wont even accept AMEX, they charge too high of a percentage. They want 1-2% more than visa and mc.
    Credit is a vicious game they get money from consumers in the long run and the sellers in the short run.

  2. We’ve wanted to cancel our AMEX card for a while. This gives me more incentive. I’ve been unhappy with them ever since they froze my card after I purchased school supplies for my classroom at the beginning of the school year. I hadn’t used the card much at all but it had a huge credit line. Since I had changed grade levels I needed a lot of stuff I decided to use the card. They said, because I charged more than usual, it would be frozen until the balance was paid off. So basically, they didn’t like the fact that I used their card. I haven’t used it since.

  3. AMEX is the worse. I closed my accounts with them.
    I had a credit line at 6.99%, 3 days late with a payment and they changed the terms, raising the interest to 29.9%! Tony Soprano would have given me a better deal. I cancelled and will never use them again. I’m currently paying off whatever remaining credit cards I have and will cancel all – If I ever need a credit card I’ll use a pre paid one. They are all the same- vampires. Unfortunately we have willingly fallen into their trap. A good credit score is another psychological mind game played on consumers. Bottom line is, all credit does is get you in trouble. If you can’t pay off in a month you can’t afford it. Same with home ownership. You either have 30% down or comfortably pay off the rest or you can’t afford a home. This good credit score nonsense has been pushed down our throats to condition us to pay them.

  4. Denise, you are exactly right about Credit Scores. Fact is, if you are rich as hell and pay cash for EVERYTHING, your credit rating will be in the toilet as much as someone who is over-extended on CC’s or always late on their bills.

    Credit Ratings are for CREDIT. NOT for how much money you have. We MUST STOP operating on Credit. These THIEVES are raping Americans at every turn.

  5. Great article Uppity. Just another example of Big Corps. doin what they can to put Backbone Small businesses Outta Business….Sheeeesh!
    I’m emailing this link to everyone I know….Along with other stories I’ve read of Bailedout Banks increasing the visa requests for foreign workers who supposedly work for cheaper wages than Americans….

  6. This is just outrageous. Maybe this is what will finally wake people up to the bottomless pit of hell that is the credit card industry. I keep 2 cards, and alternate buying some gas and groceries on them every month, then pay them off. I’m done lining other’s pockets at my expense. Let the ENTIRE Credit Card Industry pound salt!! PleaseOpleaseOplease let some pissed-off employee of Amex pass along a list of those vendors. I’d like to see Amex have to explain their actions and how they think they’re not practicing some horrific form of discrimination. Preferably to a Judge.

  7. They know the next wave is coming. The masses are filing for bankruptcy in record numbers and it’s only going to get worse. I guess if Amex thought their customers were considering bankruptcy, this shoddy treatment would push customers to do it now while amex still has the government willing to write checks to cover their losses. The credit card companies know that their customers are burning through their credit limits trying to stay afloat. I tell you, the credit card companies are shoring up their risks, and pushing their customers into bankruptcy before the government is forced by the taxpayer to quit bailing the credit card companies out.

  8. What gets me is that Bo goes on the news ‘scolding’ Wall Street and the banks, calling their behavior ‘shameful’ and saying they must begin to ‘act responsibly’.

    So…is the new bailout scam going to include any sort of quantifiable oversight of those people?

    no. BO is dancing with the ones who brought him.

  9. “So…is the new bailout scam going to include any sort of quantifiable oversight of those people?”

    The plan is to scold them often. Followed by a lecture to the American people about how paying taxes is your patriotic duty and we all need to tighten our belts.

  10. Basically we’re talking about a system that released Bernie Madoff on his own recognizance with a promise not to do anything bad. When he did just that, he wasn’t really even scolded – just told that it was bad to send all his money and jewels to relatives and friends. I’m not even sure he was actually told to stop.

    So why would we expect this system to ask for oversight? We can just send the bailees over to Bernie’s for some $100/lb steak and ask them not to let anyone catch them stealing. That should cover it.

  11. Hmmmm…..

    Uppity, there is really something WRONG with this whole bank deal–
    and, I also wonder where those trillions are going to come from to save everyone.

    I had this as a first card right out of college. I remember the app — are you a graduating senior making $12,000 a year?

    Like many, I got cards.

    Like many, I got rid of cards.

    Now, I am no longer interested in having cards.


    Cards got people into this mess we are in — didn’t they?

    And now all those people who misused all those cards are just walking away from the houses and possessions aren’t they?

    It’s tragic.


    I cannot understand this deal about getting credit flowing again when people don’t even have jobs?

    Start there, current admin. Start there.

    And all those bad guys who stole all the money?

    Devise something really good for them — like prison for life?


  12. Amex is not and has never been a business savvy deal, considering their higher percentage charge. And now with them making up a black list of poor credit risks, they have alienated themselves further.
    Amex card holders should suddenly stop using thier cards, and watch AMex start paying attention to them. They might really get the hint if there was mass exodus from their card holders.

  13. I work in finance and that is absolutely not true about rich people paying cash having a credit rating in the toilet as much as someone who is overextended on credit and pays their bills late. That doesn’t even make sense. Do you know what to debt to income ratio is? A person is granted credit based on this. A wealthy person w few bills will get the best credit, low interest and a big credit line. A person who doesn’t have as much income, has alot of bills, doesn’t pay their bills or pays them late, will get a high interest credit rate or no credit at all.

    It doesn’t hurt to have one low interest credit card if people would just use self control and not max the shit out of it on stupid stuff they don’t need. I personally don’t know anyone that could pay cash for a car or house so keeping good credit is a necessity. Not only that, employers look at potential employee credit ratings to see how responsible they are. When getting insurance quotes, companies do the same thing.

  14. btw, also untrue if a person doesn’t have 30% down they can’t afford a home. I purchased my home 14 1/2 years ago with about 1 1/2% down. I qualified as a first time homeowner. I had a solid work history and credit history. In all this time I have never been late on my mortgage payment once. I have done thousands of dollars of updates to my home as well and I live here alone. I don’t know where you are getting that 30% at. Some of us know how to pinch pennies for something worthwhile.

  15. Yes, employers have been checking credit ratings for years. Especially if you are working in an industry where you could be a security risk with high debt. If you work where there are military contracts they scour your life for clearance. Unless of course you are an Obama cabinet member. sorry, can’t help it. Right now, Tom Daschle would NOT be hired in the real world in a position of risk. Neither would Barack Obama since entire years of his life are still uknown and college records are buried.

  16. I thought the norm was always 15 percent on a home, back when they bothered expecting people to be able to PAY for them when they got the mortgage. Let’s face it, Fannie Mae created this entire mess. I have the criteria they forced on people somewhere on this blog. People didn’t even have to have jobs. They could be on welfare and buy a home, and a home that would be too much home for them even if they were working. Welfare was a consideration as income. If they had bad credit, you were supposed to ‘check’ to see if they were working on improving it. What kind of shit is that? Banks were threatened by well trained ACORNERs too. Then the bankers said what the hell, and got creative. They had employees who no longer cared if the person could pay, they got their commission or whatever and that was that.

    We need to go back to not giving ANYBODY loans if they are bad credit risks and have no means to pay.

  17. Here ya go. read this. This is what Barney Frank and Chris Dodd helped to do to America.

  18. wodiej,

    You seem to be contradicting yourself. If a good credit rating shows responsibility, then how does an irresponsible rich person have a high credit rating? And if it has more to do with money than responsibility, why do employers need to do credit checks? Those credit checks are like drug testing. It makes no reliable difference relative to the cost. It’s just good CYA for liability.

    You can have a good credit rating and live paycheck to paycheck and you can own a home with 1% down as long as you don’t lose your income. My credit “problems” were all related to me not finding work (thanks, Clinton Administration) and still having student loan interest accumulate. And at the same time my income went up significantly, I had a card closed by BofA. Income to debt only matters when the income part is huge.

    You’re right, UW. Obama couldn’t have passed a background check for a job in the government if he refused to reveal the amount of information he did in the campaign.

  19. UW,

    Don’t forget that the Glowy One, in one of his only jobs as a “lawyer,” was to shake down a bank that didn’t want to give government backed loans to deadbeats.

  20. P4, the employer credit checks go to risk management. Seriously. Let’s say, for example, you work for a company that has military contracts. You are a risk because you might fall prey to bribes for information. Also, credit checks are seen as a responsibility indicator. Auto insurers use them too. Stats show that people with better credit file fewer claims and get into fewer accidents. My auto insurer reduces rates for people with good credit. You are less of a risk, pay less, period.

    They are vanilla in their assessment too. There is generally no idea “why” a credit rating is bad, (like for example, a medical catastrophe in family) but they get the FICO score and it means something to them. Renters of apartments use them as well. They have every right to determine if a potential tenant has the ability to pay.

  21. UW,

    I think credit checks are fine for jobs that have something to do with the credit rating. But why did a company need to do a credit check for me to assemble computers? No reason. just to violate a poor person who couldn’t find another job.

    But they’re always going to favor the rich. So if you’re poor and you had to borrow your way through college, it’s going to be that much harder to get a job.

  22. P6, they did it because……they could.

  23. AMERICAN EXPRESS doesn’t care how bad things get when you lose your job, they want payment now and in full. When I ask for help with a payment plan until I can find a job, they said no, we don’t do that? I would not recommend AE to anyone, ever!!!

  24. […] thieving, consumer screwer and  member of an elitist  group of  all-around rat-fuckers, including Capital One and Bank of […]

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