5 On Your Side

Woman struggles with credit card debacle

Posted April 19, 2010 5:20 p.m. EDT
Updated April 20, 2010 5:53 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.