Fred Owes AMEX $40,000 And Can’t Pay American Express Back

“Dear Steve,

I own a home based business (S corporate in CA). Since the begining of the year, I’ve been make less than previous year. Hoping it would change, I used my AMEX to make up for the difference….You can figure out the rest. My bill of 40K+ is due in a couple of days and I have made next to zero in the past 40 days.

I just can’t pay Amex which is due in full. My credit score of over 765 is about to go down the drain. But what concerns me most is what Amex is gonna come after and how they’ll possibly make life miserable for me.

Can I come to an agreement with them to let me make a reasonable monthly payment without making life hell for me and my family?


Dear Fred,

Obviously you recognize that this is not a good situation. American Express (AMEX) can be real bastards when it comes to debt collection efforts.

You might want to read my article “How to Hide From Debt Collection, the Debt Collector, and Creditors” for some tips on dodging the AMEX debt collectors if you just can’t deal with them right now.

While hiding might give you a bit of peace it will not change the underlying issue that you used money from American Express that you can’t pay back.

Even if you were to make payment arrangements, I’m not quite sure what you can promise since you have no income coming in. AMEX is certainly not going to take a hope or prayer agreement to satisfy your $40,000 worth of debt.

Really, they will only make your life as hellish as you let them. If you are honest with your family and let them know the situation then everyone will know what to do when American Express debt collectors call, be nice and say good bye. Without any money to pay, that is the best you can do.

American Express will chase you for $40,000 and after six months or so they may even sue you for the debt.

What you can do now is to:

  • Focus on bringing in income. If you can’t seem to make money then we’ll look at other options.
  • Hide from the American Express debt collectors if you just can’t deal with them right now. it is often easier to be positive and fight to change things when you don’t have 15 calls a day asking you for money you just don’t have.
  • Draw a line in the sand and say that if things don’t improve in 60 days then you’ll have to look at other options, like bankruptcy. (Click here for bankruptcy information.)

While I understand the emotional need to hide from creditors it is always better to speak to the creditor and let them know what the situation is. I prefer for people to try to make a friend out of the collector rather than running in fear.

Bottom line with the AMEX collectors, don’t promise to make a payment you can’t afford, they hate that.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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3 thoughts on “Fred Owes AMEX $40,000 And Can’t Pay American Express Back”

  1. Hi!

    Make one call to AMEX an dtell them your situation.

    Send whaty you can it will be applied to your debt. Send them $5 or $10 whatever you can afford.

    If AMEX sends you to third party collections tell the colllection agency you only want communication by mail ONLY.
    This will give you peace of mind no aggressive collection agency bastard calling at all hrs of the day.

    Keep one letter from the collection agency and shred the rest.

    Keep the cease calls in effet with the collection agencies. By rthe second or third different collection agency call them and ask for a settlement. You can negotiate for pennies on the dollar. Get EVERYTHING in writing!

    Luv you bunches


  2. I would begin searching out alternative options while you are not in too deep. The deeper you get, the less options you will have. Definitely strive to generate more income but always have a backup possibility. Sticking your head in the sand and simply hiding can put in a position where AmEx easily achieves a judgment through lawsuit. Avoid bankruptcy as well, that will be on your credit for 10 years! There are some great options out there.

  3. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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