American Express drops debt-free customer


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Credit card companies are making no secret about trying to get rid of their high risk card-holders. But even some of their best customers are getting swept up in the process and getting the heave ho.

John Finn of Los Gatos is comfortably retired and debt free.

So he was shocked when out of the blue /*American Express*/ notified him it was canceling his credit card because of his intent to go bankrupt.

"I was really mad because I had no intent. I immediately called them up and told them I had no intent to file for bankruptcy and I haven't filed for bankruptcy," said Finn.

John says he'd never even come close to bankruptcy and it was all a big mistake.

He figured it would be easy to point out the error and get his card back. But when he called American Express, he says, nobody would listen.

In fact, the company turned over his account to a collection agency.

"They just ignore you," said Finn. "They never answered when I said I didn't file."

John paid off his $6,800 balance. But he was worried the false bankruptcy might wind up on his perfect credit report, which shows no late payments in 30 years, and a great 792 credit score.

John told American Express the bankruptcy report had to be a case of mistaken identity.

"I suggested in one of my letters they confused me with someone else. I found out later that is what they did," said Finn.

But even after pointing out the mistake, and even after paying his entire balance, all he got from American Express was a demand for payment.

And a notice his 47,000 reward points were now in jeopardy.

"The letters kept coming they didn't recognize I'd paid my balance off," said Finn.

That's when john gave up and contacted /*7 On Your Side*/ and we contacted American Express.

The company would not discuss his case specifically, but it said: "We're looking more closely at our card members in an effort to manage prudently and in some cases we have to make prudent decisions."

But American Express did agree to review john's case and within days, john got a call from the executive offices.

"She did indicate they'd made a mistake," said Finn.

And American Express gave him back his credit card with the full credit limit.

"Thanks to you, at least someone finally actually looked at the facts," said Finn.

John checked and his credit report also is still spotless. A good idea always to make sure there are no mistakes. One thing though, American Express jacked his interest rate up three points before giving it back, but he does get those reward points back too.

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