Mark says he was led to believe--through ads in the newspaper and over the Internet and asking questions to an Amex representative by phone--that he would get a 5 percent rebate on gas, purchases at drug stores and everyday groceries from the Blue Cash card. "My first complaint is that my prescription drugs cannot be purchased on the card because my health insurance, which is registered as a charitable organization, is not applicable," says Mark. "Amex said it isn't their fault, and blames it on my health insurance company that chose to be listed that way.
"During that same conversation with the Amex rep, I asked about the percentages on my purchases. On my statement the rebates indicated only 1.5 percent on gas and groceries and .5 percent on drugs and all other purchases. I knew I would have to wait one year for the rebate but in the meantime I was told it would accumulate and it would reflect on my statement each month--how much I had actually made toward my rebate. I was also aware that there was a $6500 purchase limit before reaching the 5 percent rebate and 1.5 percent would show on my statement.
I assumed that as soon as I had made purchases on Blue Cash totalling $6500, the lower percentages would automatically turn into 5 percent. Wrong. A few days ago, I received a statement from Amex and my usage for the year was $7500 so I was over the $6500. Still I was reading 1.5 and .5 percent on my statement. So I called them again.
'Why hasn't my Blue Cash card converted the rebate over to the higher rate?' I asked. I was told that now, I would start getting 5 percent on all my purchases after $6500. In other words, everything over $6500 entitled me to the higher percentage.
At the same time I was speaking to the Amex rep, I went on the Internet and saw that a class action suit has been filed. I guess many other consumers were led to believe that they would get 5 percent back on gas, drugs and groceries (and everyday purchases on everything else was 1.5 percent) as long as they spent $6500 for the year.
This is very annoying especially because I have another credit card that gives me 3 percent on all my purchases, from the first dollar spent.
If I read between the lines, or if Amex told me, I would never have purchased this card. I would have put my moving expenses (totalling over $5,000 that I even offered to pre-pay) on the blue cash card—they wouldn't let me. That would have automatically put me over my $6500 limit. Instead, I used my Chase credit card and I got $150 back.
I think Amex gives these cards out to consumers with small limits, those who cannot make large purchases on the card so they can never reach that $6500; instead when the year ends, their balance goes back to zero.
Amex Credit Limitation
Since last October, I put about $500 on my blue card each week. When I wanted to make a big purchase, I was over the limit of $2,000. Even when I called and said I would deposit $5,000 cash on my Blue Card, they wouldn't accept it because they don't want to pay the 5 percent.
Tina, my fiancé and I have asked for a credit limit increase 4 times. We both have a good credit rating and we have never paid Amex a penny in interest—so why won't they increase the limit? I have one credit card with a $30,000 limit and another with $19,500. And Tina has a perfect credit rating. That's how American Express wants to do business: They come out with this great plan but won't let people use it.
We aren't talking a lot of money here: Amex owes us 3.5 percent on 5 percent. So that's a few hundred dollars. But assuming everyone else has the same contract that we have, that's a lot of money Amex owes to their consumers. Cha-Ching!"
Mark and Tina now use a credit card that gives them the best benefit and it isn't Amex Blue Cash.