Last month, New York City’s NY1 news channel produced a news segment on the woman who was arrested for paying with AMEX gift cards at a Best Buy. If you read our earlier post with Ilona’s email, you already know most of the basics, but you can see the problematic gift cards and hear Ilona describe the experience in her own words. It turns out that after she was released, she went back to Best Buy for either a refund or the DVD player, but had to leave without either one–she was told she’d have to contact American Express to resolve the problem. [More]
Update: The news channel New York 1 has prepared a video segment about Ilona’s experience with Best Buy and the NYC police.
A shopper just told us that
last night last month at a Best Buy in NYC, she was taken to a back room, then cuffed by police officers and taken to a precinct for “further investigation,” because she tried to pay with an American Express gift card her father had bought for her.
Steve says American Express sent him an off-putting letter letting him know it could refuse to authorize his charge at any time. He writes:
We’re no longer indignant about Amex’s weirdly lax security policies anymore, we’re just confused. Why would a major credit card company cold call new customers and insist they give up bank and address info over the phone, or email sensitive data to strangers? Or, we just learned, demand that you use a lame password that isn’t case sensitive, is only 6 to 8 characters long, and can’t contain special characters?
Chuck lost his job several months ago and wanted to continue his American Express membership, but had trouble justifying the $50 annual fee in his limited budget. So he launched an Executive Email Carpet Bomb, started his own anti-AmEx blog and started picketing…
Wait a minute…that headline sounds familiar. It doesn’t have the desolate ring that “stranded in Siberia” has, but Josiah recently found himself without available credit in Mumbai. He recently had made a large payment on his American Express balance, see, and AmEx cut his credit limit accordingly—down to his current balance. Stranded without money in Mumbai?
American Express and Discover will no longer bill customers who exceed their credit limits, according to company spokespeople. The creditors aren’t eliminating the fees because they care about their customers. No, they’re providing what American Banker calls “the first concrete examples of how a new law will restrict issuers’ abilities to turn a profit.” The new CARD Act that Congress passed in May requires consumers to opt-in before they can exceed their credit limits. Since overlimit fees, which can reach $39, aren’t very profitable for creditors, they decided to ditch the fees altogether.
It’s not the responsibility of a credit card company to take care of you in an emergency, it’s true. But amid the many reports of canceled cards and slashed credit lines we’ve been receiving was the story of Elizabeth, her dog, a veterinary emergency, and a most inauspiciously timed credit line cut.
We think AT&T just stole about $157 from commenter Spoco. They applied the payment as always via his Amex card, but then said that it was declined and auto-debited it a second time a month later (+ late fees, of course). The only problem is, it wasn’t declined, and Spoco has proof. He just can’t get anyone at AT&T to care.
Last week we mentioned that Costco has a habit of backdating the starting date for lapsed membership renewals, which prompted Monica to write in and let us know of another issue they seem to have with billing. If you renew your executive membership with Costco but then apply for the Costco American Express card, Amex will charge you the membership fee a second time. Monica says the Amex CSR who fixed the problem told her it happens all the time.
American Express won’t reactivate the charge card Xiyang closed more than two years ago until they get a note on letterhead confirming the source and amount of his annual income from an “accountant, broker, or attorney.” Two accountants and a lawyer each told Xiyang they never heard of such a request, and said that it would be a “HUGE liability” for them to verify his income. Xiyang offered to send in pay stubs in addition to the IRS documents he already submitted, but AmEx won’t budge until they receive their verification on letterhead.
Angela can’t get a new American Express card because Amex can’t verify her Social Security number. They have to verify it because of 9/11. Since they can’t, they’ve canceled her application. Because of 9/11.
We’re starting to think Amex doesn’t take this whole “data security” thing very seriously. First they confused a customer, and us, a few months ago with their random confirmation phone call, where they demanded a customer turn over bank account information over the phone without giving him a way to verify they were really Amex. Now a reader says the company has “for years” been sending him someone else’s account info via email, including the customer’s name and the last 5 digits of his account number. J.R. writes, “Seriously, I’ve seen better security on a video game forum.”
Wanna see the Maddoff clan’s AMEX statements? They’re online here. 2 grand Giorgio Armani in Paris, 8 grand at a hotel, 10 grand to charity, $441 at a bagel store, the garners of unlawful gains really know how to live it up. But you gotta give the guy some credit: he did pay his bills on time. [Scribd] (Thanks to Chris!)