5 On Your Side

Woman struggles with credit card debacle

Posted April 19, 2010
Updated April 20, 2010

— Jennifer Downing turned to Five On Your Side after months of dealing with customer service at American Express over a billing issue.

It started last October when she paid her $1,439 bill in full. Two months later, American Express put that amount back on her bill.

Downing called them immediately. “I had the computer up. I had my bank statement up, and I had American Express. So I'm going back and forth. I'm like, ‘I'm looking at it right here,’” she said. “I said, ‘Where is my money then?’”

She said a representative promised to look into it.

Jennifer Downing Woman deals with credit card issues

In January, the company sent a letter saying they "inadvertently applied another card member's payment of $1,439" to Downing's account and so they took back the credit.

“I’m like, ‘With someone else's money? That's my money,’” Downing said.

After speaking with numerous people at call centers all over the world, Downing thought she finally got to the right person.

“She's like, ‘Oh my gosh, you know, so sorry. We're going to fix this. I will not drop the ball. I'm going to need this. I'm going to need that,’” Downing said. “I said that's fine, and that's when I finally hooked them up with my bank.”

But despite her documented proof and conversations with her bank, American Express sent another letter saying the information was "insufficient."

“So now, we're onto dispute No. 3 and I am furious,” Downing said. “You've got to be kidding me. How can something so simple escalate?”

When it continued to escalate, Downing called 5 on Your Side for help.

After WRAL News called American Express, a representative called Downing and credited back the $1,439, but would not explain what happened or why.

And while her latest statement shows the re-credit of $1,439, Downing asked American Express to send confirmation in writing. But Downing says the company representative claimed they can't do that because of privacy issues. So, 5 on Your Side asked American Express to send a letter to Downing explaining the issue, and they agreed to do that.

For Downing, the ordeal was exhausting. “It has been ridiculous. There has been no customer service. No one should ever have to go through what I went through with this mess,” she said.


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  • RUSTYROVER Apr 22, 2010

    Here is a great idea.....everyone should close their american express accounts

  • kennedy63 Apr 21, 2010

    I highly recommend a visa or mastercard through a credit union. no fees, low intrest, compaired to any other credit card and no hassles.The only time I had any hassels with a credit card is when i have one through a company and not my bank or credit union.

  • Pseudonym Apr 20, 2010

    Anyone who has ever dealt with ANY credit card is not surprised by this. Credit card companies and banks are run by idiots so stupid they make the IRS look like Einstein. Learn how to pay cash for EVERYTHING you buy. If you continue to use credit cards, go into debt, buy things you can't pay for now, and worship your FICO score, then you only have yourself to blame when you have to deal with idiots.

  • redapace Apr 20, 2010

    I canned my AMEX years ago for similar reasons and I don't miss it at all. I've found that every place I go into that takes AMEX also takes VISA/MC, but not the opposite.

  • IliveinwhackogopcontrolledNC Apr 20, 2010

    Do like I did. I kept getting my bill late because one of their employees some how changed my mailing address with a wrong word and misspelling. After writing them, calling them and, always stamping my return address on the payment envelope which obviously no one looked at, I realized I was dealing with a group of certified idiots. I also realized that if something such as this might happen, who knows when it got to money. I promptly wrote a letter to the CEO in New York and president of cardmember services in Florida and explained the situation and in a polite way, let them know what their lack of customer service had done for one of their members. I received a call from an assistant to the CEO asking for forgiveness after I cancelled my card and paid it off. I told the assistant I had neither the will nor patience to put up with such stupidity. One of the best moves I ever made.

  • Glass Half Full Apr 20, 2010

    WOW! The next step would be to close the AMEX account.

  • TestForFun Apr 20, 2010

    If you qualify for a credit card through your credit union or through USAA, I highly recommend both for customer service. I have had only one error at the credit union with my card, and it was corrected immediately and politely with one phone call. The rates are much better, too!

  • HappyGirl08 Apr 20, 2010

    Oh yea, so if I were this lady, the very next thing I would do is establish a new cc and once it was in place, I'd close that dang AMEX acct faster than they can say screw up!

  • army retiree Apr 20, 2010

    "Don't leave home without it........"

  • pyrosinthesky Apr 20, 2010

    I can sympathize. About 25 years ago, I had huge charges put on the card by someone who used my number to buy junk from QVC. AMEX fixed that. Great customer service. I had the card reiussed. NOW, the same person did it again, with my new number! The card had never been used or had even left my house! I found out that QVC called AMEX and they gave QVC my new number so they could complete the transaction! You would not believe the bruise on my chin caused by it hitting the floor.

    Now, AMEX wanted me to pay for this. I absolutely refused and after about a year and a half, they gave up. They asked me what I had done with the junk and I politely explained to them that they should first check with the address that QVC shipped it to! Did they not happen to notice that it was no where close to the billing address?