Feb 23, 2009

Perhaps you saw in the news that American Express is paying people to cancel their accounts. Not just anyone though, only those customers that AmEX thinks pose a risk of default. Customers who carry high balances on several types of cards are suspect. According to the folks at AmEx, those customers receiving the "invitation", aren't being asked to quit AmEx, they are being offered the chance to simplify their finances. AmEx mumbo-jumbo. In exchange for a $300 gift card, invitees must pay off their outstanding balance by April 30. AmEx is doing this promotion to try to get a jump on other companies that these people owe money to. They hope get as much cash out of their shaky customers as they can, just in case a cardholder decides that he can only pay one credit card company and chooses Visa over AmEx. Or in even a worse scenario, files for bankruptcy. Let's be clear about one thing. Credit card companies are predators. They are lions and we are a herd of antelope. Some of us are going down and it isn't the lions. I've had AmEx for several years because Costco has a deal with them. I get a rebate on my Costco purchases using AmEx, in addition to the normal Costco annual rebate. I'm pleased to say that I've never paid American Express a penny in interest and never plan to. Every year I get a bit of a rebate from AmEx. Instead of this disingenuous "invitation" to quit, it would be refreshing if American Express sent a more honest offer to these shaky cardholders. Dear Valued Cardholder, We at the American Express family appreciate the thousands of dollars in interest that you've paid us over the years. It has meant a lot to us, it really has. We know that you've done you best to honor your agreement with us. But sometimes your best just isn't good enough. You have probably read that many people are losing their jobs and with it, their ability to pay us the money they owe. Maybe you have even lost your job, which is why we are writing today. Despite the money we paid to the members of Congress to tighten the bankruptcy laws, many people are still filing bankruptcy. This is an intolerable situation, one that we must deal with proactively. If people quit paying us, where will we be? We could lose our jobs and we don't have to tell you have scary that is. But, with your help, we can get in front of this problem. We want to give you $300, to help you through these tough times. Everyone can use a little extra these days and we think you are no different. All you have to do is pay us the $6800 you owe us by April 30th. That's it, no strings, just $300 to spend anyway you choose. That's right, pay us by April 30th, and we will send you $300 cash. Well not cash, but a prepaid credit card that you can use at participating merchants who accept AmEx. No sense in us losing out on those lucrative merchant fees. We know that you are no doubt saying to yourself, "Hey, but I don't have $6800." Well, we have good news. We've noticed that you have a number of other credit cards. Balance transfers are easy and convenient, Visa, Mastercard and Discover cards are options that may be available to you. Many people find that relatives and friends are often willing to help in a pinch. Retirement and college savings are another option. Remember, we are willing to give you $300. That's money that you can use to pay bills or just enjoy. Our pleasant customer service professionals are available 24 hours a day. Let's make this a win-win. Act now this offer may be rescinded at any time. Your AmEx Customer Service Team. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

7 comments:

Kurt said...

That seems vaguely illegal. The only good thing about Amex is they give excellent exchange rates for overseas purchases.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

I hate credit cards.

bella rum said...

"They are lions and we are a herd of antelope."

Merle, this may be your best post EVER. Not kidding.

e said...

Merle,

This post is fabulous because once again, you've hit the nail on the head!

Barbara said...

I have AmEx for the same reason and I love the fact they haven't ever made a penny off of me! They are definitely predators, all of them! I feel sorry for people who pay that service charge month in and month out because they can never pay off their balance.

Avid Reader said...

I always thought of my Amex card as a charge card, rather than a credit card-- The balance payable in full when the statement is received with no monkey business that leads to extra charges.

Megan said...

Well, when I lost my job last year, I was glad I had my credit cards. Now, of course, I'm not glad any more.

At current pace, I should be free in six months. Those six months can't pass fast enough!