As we cannot vote these large business institutions in or out of office, we must find other ways to represent ourselves. One of our biggest tools for this is how we spend our money or choose what we partake of what they provide. So, to me, good citizenship is taking action toward these institutions whenever possible.
It is time we set the standards by which we will do business, and live, not these institutions. It is high time we set aside as much of our fear as possible and stand up.
Recently, a credit card I use, American Express, changed their policy on the card I use. I decided that they are now not in noncompliance with my policy. I wrote them a letter and sent it via US Mail. See if you agree with my position or have found yourself in similar circumstances.
10 March 2017
El Paso, TX 79998-1535
To Member Services,
In reference to my card account ending in (x-xxxxx), with regard to your new terms concerning my Payment Due Date, I am writing to object to this change and am considering the cancellation of my account. Please do not cancel my account at this time, however.
Your new terms violate my personal credit and charge card policy. My policy is:
- at least 30 days to pay
- no late fee over $10
- no annual fee
As of now, the terms on your card are in violation of my personal credit card policy and I am placing you on probation. That may seem a strange way to put it, but consider that I have had an account with you since 1979. I used to think of my American Express account as different from all my other credit card offerings. A ‘cut above’ so to speak. I expected to be treated like a responsible adult, rather than a school child who is late with his homework. That may also seem like a strange way to put it, but I fully understand the psychology used by banks when assigning late fees. The individual is made to feel ‘bad’ for being ‘late’ and therefore should be ‘punished.’ That’s why more people don’t rise up and object to these short payment times and fees more than they already do.
Well, I don’t appreciate being treated that way. I have paid my annual fee faithfully for decades, in expectation that I would avoid such manipulation. You are the giant bank. I am the self employed individual without the financial resources or extensive legal counsel that you enjoy. I am at a distinct disadvantage. I must act to protect myself against being fleeced by the banking system, more and more over time.
I judge that your new policy is just about raising revenue and not about whether I’ve done anything ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ There are times when I am away, or have I been sick (which is what happened most recently), and I get behind in paying my bills. Now, instead of 45 days or so (as it was decades ago) or 30 days, as it was recently, you now only allow 25 days before levying charges. This is no different from other cards. So why should I still pay an annual fee for the privilege?
Here’s a suggestion: I never use the ‘points’ you offer. Why don’t you offer ‘points’ that extend my payment deadline if I pay early at other times? One point for each day I’ve paid in full before the deadline, allows me one day to extend the deadline in a subsequent month, when I might need it. Why not? What is your plan that takes the pressure and stress off me with regard to my worry about bill deadlines? Do I have to jump when you say ‘jump’? Do I have to keep an eagle eye out for my in-box and grab and pay each and every bill as soon as I see it?
This is the world we increasingly live in, I guess, but I will not accept it. Do I have to cancel every credit card and pay cash from now on? Sadly, there are many online services for which there is no ‘brick and mortar’ equivalent, so I am stuck in the middle, having to use some kind of card, even if their terms don’t meet my card policy requirements.
So, I’m putting you on probation. You have six months to find a way to allow me flexibility in paying up to 45 days without fees or interest. If not, I will cease doing business with you. Plain and simple.
Glenn C. Koenig