I have an American Express BlueSky Rewards card. My husband and I use it for everything we can in order to maximize the reward benefits because we travel alot. I've had it since last November, and we charge everything: gas, food, cable, business trips, our cross country move...everything.
I've carried a balance on it like....once. In general, it's paid in full, on time, every month. The month I carried a balance, I still made a payment the day I got the bill, so nothing was ever late.
I've spent over $30,000 on that card since I got it in November, and since AMEX is its own network as well as a credit card, they get a fee for each time the card is used. Therefore, even though I don't carry a balance, they still make money off of me.
I went online last Tuesday to pay off the last chunk of our balance before the due date of last Friday. I noticed that our limit had gone from $8,500 to $2,800. At first, I blinked, thinking it was a mistake. Then I called up to find out what happened. I was told that something appeared on my credit report, and now I'm labeled to much of a risk.
This, of course, freaked me out because my husband and I have REALLY good credit. I mean, not 8 months ago, we bought a house, but I did admit that I hadn't checked my credit report since then. I looked and discovered this $21 charge that had gone to collections from a hospital. I called the number for the collection agency to ask what it was. It was a copay from a hospital in Iowa, a state I've never been to. After a few minutes of consulting with them, they discovered that it was an errant charge and wasn't mine. She said that it was going to be taken off my credit report immediately, and gave me their phone number to call American Express with so that they could confirm with American Express that it was a mistake.
I called up American Express and was on hold for 45 minutes. When I got through, a woman just kept repeating to me over and over that they do not call people and that I have to fax over my credit report to them. I said that my credit report would state that there is a collection, but that it was a mistake and that the collection agency could confirm with them that it was. She kept repeating over and over again that they don't call and that I have to send my credit report.
It was like she wasn't even listening to what I was saying. I asked to speak to a supervisor. She refused to let me. I asked again. She said no one was there. I asked again, and she magically found someone.
This second woman told me that the lowering of my limit has nothing to do with my credit score, but that with the economy being as bad as it is, it's too much of a risk. I asked her how I could be a risk if I've paid every bill on time and almost always in full. She repeated that the economy was bad. I asked her why the other two women told me it was because of this errant charge, she said that she didn't know. I asked her if we could add my husband to the account as a co-account holder versus just a card holder (apparently, they only consider my credit on the account even though he is an authorized card holder) since his credit remains untarnished until all of this was cleared up. She said no. She said that I can apply for a new limit in 6 months. I said that I can't wait that long since we used over 3k a month on that card every month as it is.
I asked her why they can work with people on an individual basis who can't afford to pay their bills, but will not work with people who are in good standing on an individual basis. She repeated that spiel about the economy again. I verified our income with her, which is very high compared to the limit (we clear, after taxes and everything, well above the monthly limit). She repeated about how the economy was bad and we're too much of a risk.
I pointed out that we've spent 30k in business with them in less than a year, paid on time every month, excellent customers and they're willing to throw away that business over an errant $21 charge? She said, "Yep."
I asked to talk to someone above her. She wouldn't transfer me. I took down her name, but she wouldn't allow me any further up the chain.
At that point, my husband had to go because he had to get to the airport. I told her that once I utilize my last rewards points, I was going to cancel the card and that I wanted no further correspondence from American Express. I also pointed out that I didn't realize that the credit industry was doing so well as to turn away good business.
Also, after I posted about this in my personal journal, I've gotten a number of news stories about how AMEX is screwing people over:
I swear that they lowered the limit in order to get me to go over the limit to charge me a fee. And also to prevent me from earning as many rewards points as we do.
AMEX lowered my limit over something on my credit report that was later proven to be not me, refused to work with me for any options, and lowered the limit below what we spend every month.
I plan on sending them a letter expressing my displeasure as well as including the letter we got with our new rewards card from CapitalOne with a 20k limit. =P