Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Amex puts Polly in the doghouse

American Express CompanyImage via Wikipedia
Having another cash flow problem.  Due to an expensive transmission repair which you can read about here if you're interested, I don't have the cash right now I thought I had to pay for the Poorhouse children's childcare this summer. I'll have it in two weeks when I next get paid. The problem is that there is only one viable option for the last few weeks of summer around here. Last year, we got closed out of the program because we registered too late, and had no child care.

(Remind me to do a rant on child care scheduling sometime. But not today. Today I rant on American Express.)

My American Express card proclaims that I've been a cardmember since 1984. Apparently that and a Diet Coke will give you a caffeine buzz for half an hour.

Two years ago, I was late on my Amex payments, along with all my other payments. I brought them current. American Express lowered my spending limit to $1000. This was a problem, because I used it mostly for business travel, which nearly always costs more than $1000. But I could kinda see their issue. They wanted to make sure they got their money.  So I stopped using the card, because it wasn't helpful to me.

About a year ago I called them and asked them to increase my spending limit. I have a job, and I can pay off my bills now. No, they said, we need at least a 6 month history of on-time bill payments. So I went back to not using it.

Fast forward to this morning, I whipped my card out of the back of my wallet and tried to use it to pay for camp for this summer. Declined. Hmm, I thought, thought I, Perhaps it's that pesky $1000 limit. I tried another transaction, this time, with only a few of the camp weeks charged. Declined.

So I went online to see my account status. Imagine my surprise to discover that my card had been cancelled!

Jason, the American name of a card services rep from India that I got on the phone, told me that they had cancelled the card in January for inactivity. Could they reinstate it?  No, because the reinstatement request was not within 3 months of cancellation. In a plot worthy of Joseph Heller, Jason suggested I apply for a new card. I did. My application was declined.

This nightmare will never ever end, will it? I'm paying off my debt. All of my bills and various payment plans are current. I have a good job. My husband is employed.  We are trying so hard, but we just can't catch a break.
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