Wednesday, April 22, 2009

American Express Blue Cash "Farce"

April 17, 2009. By Jane Mundy

North Palm Beach, FL: David believes that American Express did a "bait and switch" with its AMEX Blue Cash Credit Card and says the giant company has deceived consumers—not a good thing for American Express or its customers in this economic climate. "I was told that all purchases over $6,000 would give me a 5 percent cash rebate, but that is not the case," David says.

Before he applied for the Blue Cash card, David (not his real name pending a lawsuit) says he talked on the phone with an American Express representative, who ensured him that indeed he would get back a 5 percent cash refund for everything over $6,000 and there was no mention of restrictions. "I got the card about a year ago and thought, 'This is great, I can put a lot of my expenses on it and once I reach this $6,000 threshold, I would be saving 5 percent on everything,' " David said.

It never occurred to David that this deal was too good be true. After all, American Express is a reputable company. And he read the literature; everything seemed to be on the "up and up". But you've got to hand it to those devious marketing people…

"I would also classify their marketing materials as misleading or deceptive," adds David. "If anything was in the fine print, it was well hidden, or not even there. Even if AMEX
has no liability for everything, in other words, if they have covered all their bases, I believe some organization like the Federal Trade Commission or a consumer watchdog organization should take note that this is not acceptable and it is also deceiving in nature.

I'm not necessarily looking for a monetary settlement. However, I may be entitled to one. I think that Amex should show better business procedures, especially in difficult environments where companies like them are struggling, because they aren't going to keep customers by using these kinds of unscrupulous business practices and they likely need every customer they can get about now, pretty much like any other business.

I wracked up about $2,000 per month for at least 3 months on my Blue Cash card. I would like to see American Express stand behind their original terms, which was 5 percent once the $6,000 threshold was met. For the first $6,000 I think their terms are about 1.5 percent (it's not easy to figure out, probably intentionally) and after that it jumped to 5 percent--that was my understanding.

The restrictions came into play on everyday purchases. For example, my rent is a big expense (about $1100 per month) but they wouldn't recognize that. In addition, my grocery shopping is done at a store called Publix—a big grocery store chain here in the southeast. They wouldn't recognize that either because 'your purchases must only be at small independent grocery stores'. Those small independent stores are rare in my area and not only that, you would pay a lot more for groceries. I haven't looked through the fine print on all these restrictions yet, but I plan to.

I was also told that only certain gas stations are on the list. I have never seen a list of any participating gas stations or restaurants or pharmacies that they claim are recognized, because I was never provided any such list. And I have never seen any establishment advertise that they accept Blue Cash Credit Cards.

So AMEX paints the big number 5 but nothing about restrictions that have suddenly been implemented.

To make me satisfied, Amex would reimburse me the difference between 1.5 percent and their 5 percent promise—I would like 5 percent on all purchases after the $6,000 threshold was spent instead of the 1.5 percent they are paying me now. So they should pay me 3.5 percent in addition to the 1.5 percent I have already received in cash-back discounts.

I am surprised that more people haven't caught on to this farce…"

Lawyers wanting to advertise for American Express "Blue Cash" Class Action Litigation cases sign up here; (Click on title above to go there)

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