Attorney Asks Question Regarding American Express Cancelling Card for Being Rude

Question:

Dear Steve,

Actually, for a client. He was rude to American Express customer support. He kept asking to be switched to an American. He admits he was probably overly rude.

He was told his card was canceled because of his behavior over the phone and that the matter had already been reviewed by a panel that had listened to the audio and decided to cancel him.

I’ve read your blog, and I get contractually American Express has the right to terminate a client for any reason or no reason at all.

Any advice or suggestions for my guy in this situation. Any thought Amex might reinstate him to avoid defending a lawsuit even if it is a loser case?

Reid

Answer:

Dear Reid,

I have two answers for you. The first is for you as the attorney. Congratulations on landing this client. It feels like a winner for billable hours. Honestly, it seems like you are an excellent attorney to walk the client through this gingerly. I’m not being sarcastic. Kudos.

Second, I understand the consumer’s outrage about getting his card canceled. It feels terrible, unfortunate, and nobody likes to feel like a victim, a loser, or powerless.

But as I’ve written about before, Amex has written into their cardholder agreements the right to take their ball and go home whenever they want.

You sound like a fantastic attorney, and it will be artistic to find a way around Amex saying, “We may cancel your account” and the consumer agreed to that when they agreed to the cardholder contract.

For all, I know there is some magic mojo state law around that. So let me know how this turns out.

But between us, isn’t the underlying issue that the consumer lost his cool and behaved like a jerk and American Express wasn’t going to have any more of that?

The logical part of my brain can’t compute why people get so emotionally invested in having an American Express card. It is one of many financial transaction cards out there that can allow you to make a purchase using borrowed funds.

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My emotional brain understands the self-esteem and self-importance people can feel by pulling out some particular credit card.

Unless I’m missing something, this situation feels very similar. The consumer is emotionally outraged by American Express doing what they said they could do. But, honestly, your client doesn’t seem to be all that special or important since American Express appears to have canceled many people for similar reasons.

From the Amex side, it feels like one of those breakups where the person says to the one they are dumping, “It’s not me it’s you.”

Sincerly,


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

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Steve Rhode

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