Amex - grrr!!! [Account overdraft]

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ddunca1944
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Amex - grrr!!! [Account overdraft]

Post by ddunca1944 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:05 pm

I have an Amex account that I have set up to be paid automatically from my personal checking account. Last month I had a much larger bill than usual and meant to pay it from our joint account (which had the funds set aside to pay it). I forgot ( :oops: ) and when it tried to draw from my small personal account, I incurred an NSF fee of $28 (or as DR would call it, a "stoopid tax"). I immediately paid it in full from the joint account - online. This was on Aug 8. On Aug 13, Amex tried - aggain - pull payment from my checking (even though Amex showed the account as paid in full with a 0 balance). A second $28 NSF fee resulted. At that point I called Amex. I was told "Sorry, but once auto payment kicks in we can't change it." I was also told that it would automatically try a third time. Even though the account was paid off and showed a balance of 0. They suggested I call my credit union. I did and the cu told me they could do nothing because the pull came from Amex.

I called Amex again, and was, again, told "Sorry. Nothing they could do". On the 18th, a third pull was attempted resulting in a 3rd NSF fee of $28.

I recognize my negligence in incurring the first NSF fee, but [(removed) --admin LadyGeek]? Amex keeps trying to pull payment even when the account is paid off?

I am ready to close the account. Any advice?

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Amex - grrr!!!

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:15 pm

Take a deep breath...

Call your credit union and explain the situation. Maybe they'll refund a fee (not that they did anything wrong, but they also were not terribly inconvenienced).

Call Amex and go up the food chain and see if anyone can comprehend how silly the second and third draws were.

This is why I have overdraft protection. You should consider it.

Calm Man
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Re: Amex - grrr!!!

Post by Calm Man » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:50 pm

OP, I would chalk it up to bad luck, a one time thing and not agonize over it. To the recommendation of overdraft protection, when that is used, doesn't that have a cost? It looks to me like OP will have a loss of less than $100 and I have a feeling the credit union will revers 1/3 or half of it.

lwfitzge
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Re: Amex - grrr!!!

Post by lwfitzge » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:56 pm

I agree...just chalk it up to a crazy rare event. AMEX is usually rock solid. Aside from overdraft protection, my bank offer overdraft sweep. Basically they link the checking account to another account (saving account) and it draws from that account if needed for overdraft for a $10 per instance occurrence. With a certain daily amount in the account, the fee is waived.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Amex - grrr!!!

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:00 pm

Calm Man wrote:OP, I would chalk it up to bad luck, a one time thing and not agonize over it. To the recommendation of overdraft protection, when that is used, doesn't that have a cost? It looks to me like OP will have a loss of less than $100 and I have a feeling the credit union will revers 1/3 or half of it.
My bank (TD) has no charge for the overdraft itself, just interest. Since the few times it has happened it was just a case of having the money in the wrong account (long story, but we have more than one account), I paid off the overdraft within a day or so, and the interest was literally pennies or single-digit dollars. I'm sure that it's an extortionate rate if you treat it as a loan, but as an overdraft, it's quite useful.

EDITED TO ADD: The overdraft sweep that lwfitzge referred to is a great idea; in my case, the accounts are in separate banks, so it doesn't work.

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Meaty
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Re: Amex - grrr!!!

Post by Meaty » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:05 pm

Wow. Sorry to hear that. That's why I don't let companies pull payments from me; I push them electronically to them, I just set a recurring email reminder to do it each month
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

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hornet96
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Re: Amex - grrr!!!

Post by hornet96 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:06 pm

ddunca1944 wrote: Amex keeps trying to pull payment even when the account is paid off?
My question would be whether they are going to continue trying to pull a payment, causing an endless loop of NSF fees. You should definitely call Amex and ask to speak to a supervisor about this (the first person you talk to probably won't understand or be able to help in any meaningful way). I would want to make sure they are going to stop trying to pull additional payments to at least stop the "bleeding".

I second the motion to talk to your CU as well about refunding at least some of the NSF fees. Given the situation, they may be willing to work with you, especially if you're not a perpetual overdrafter.

Hyperion
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Re: Amex - grrr!!!

Post by Hyperion » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:12 pm

This is a well known problem for automatic payments as well as cheque cashing, in that insufficient balance will result in multiple pulls. Instead of paying off the amex from your joint account, if you transferred the money to your personal account, the 2nd pull would have succeeded and the process would have stopped. This of course, is classic programming without sufficient error-checking, in that they check to stop the pulls only after a successful pull or after a certain max # of tries. They don't check the current balance again.

The best way to protect against this is over-draft protection like many suggested.

AlskarSverige
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Re: Amex - grrr!!! [Account overdraft]

Post by AlskarSverige » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:17 pm

This happened to me earlier during the year. I initiated payment from the wrong account, which didn't have enough funds.

I called both the CC company and the bank to inquire whether they would just keep trying to transfer money from an account that obviously didn't have it and to which I couldn't add money in time, and their response is that ACH transfers are attempted 2 times at which point they stop the transfer. I explained the situation and got one of the "stupidity "fees" waived, so I only had to pay one of them.

Hope this helps.

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BrandonBogle
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Re: Amex - grrr!!! [Account overdraft]

Post by BrandonBogle » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:22 pm

I agree that good programming should follow up to prevent repeat attempts if the balance in XYZ account is paid. But as a sidenote, most "pulls" for bills (as apposed to ACH transfers) will try a total of three times. Each time, it will be about two business days apart.

stoptothink
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Re: Amex - grrr!!! [Account overdraft]

Post by stoptothink » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:31 pm

ddunca1944 wrote:I have an Amex account that I have set up to be paid automatically from my personal checking account. Last month I had a much larger bill than usual and meant to pay it from our joint account (which had the funds set aside to pay it). I forgot ( :oops: ) and when it tried to draw from my small personal account, I incurred an NSF fee of $28 (or as DR would call it, a "stoopid tax"). I immediately paid it in full from the joint account - online. This was on Aug 8. On Aug 13, Amex tried - aggain - pull payment from my checking (even though Amex showed the account as paid in full with a 0 balance). A second $28 NSF fee resulted. At that point I called Amex. I was told "Sorry, but once auto payment kicks in we can't change it." I was also told that it would automatically try a third time. Even though the account was paid off and showed a balance of 0. They suggested I call my credit union. I did and the cu told me they could do nothing because the pull came from Amex.

I called Amex again, and was, again, told "Sorry. Nothing they could do". On the 18th, a third pull was attempted resulting in a 3rd NSF fee of $28.

I recognize my negligence in incurring the first NSF fee, but [(removed) --admin LadyGeek]? Amex keeps trying to pull payment even when the account is paid off?

I am ready to close the account. Any advice?
I had literally the exact same situation occur about 6 months ago. To be honest, I was a lot more angry with my bank whose customer service reps were downright rude about the situation. The AMEX customer service reps were great, apologetic about the policy, and they immediately refunded me for all of the NSF charges.

Professor Emeritus
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Re: Amex - grrr!!! [Account overdraft]

Post by Professor Emeritus » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:23 pm

ddunca1944 wrote:I immediately paid it in full from the joint account - online. This was on Aug 8. On Aug 13, Amex tried - aggain - pull payment from my checking (even though Amex showed the account as paid in full with a 0 balance).
I called Amex again, and was, again, told "Sorry. Nothing they could do".
Ask them for a statement in writing that they continue to bill on an account after getting paid

It is clearly a violation of the Fair Credit Billing Act http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/02 ... it-billing

"You also can sue a creditor who violates the FCBA. If you win, you may be awarded damages, plus twice the amount of any finance charge — as long as it's between $500 and $5,000, or higher amounts if a pattern or practice of violations is established. The court also may order the creditor to pay your attorney's fees and costs."

I find that a quick mention of the FCBA to a supervisor works wonders

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Amex - grrr!!!

Post by FrugalInvestor » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:26 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:This is why I have overdraft protection. You should consider it.
This is why I don't have anything paid automatically from my account. I'm a control freak I guess.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Amex - grrr!!!

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:40 pm

FrugalInvestor wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:This is why I have overdraft protection. You should consider it.
This is why I don't have anything paid automatically from my account. I'm a control freak I guess.
I'm a control freak to some extent, but I am lazier than I am controlling. I download all transactions (cc, check, vanguard) daily, and I look at them for anything unexpected.

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greg24
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Re: Amex - grrr!!!

Post by greg24 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:45 pm

Meaty wrote:Wow. Sorry to hear that. That's why I don't let companies pull payments from me; I push them electronically to them, I just set a recurring email reminder to do it each month
Same here. I want control so things don't spiral out of control.

The response of Amex is terrible. That alone would cause me to close the account.

ddunca1944
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Re: Amex - grrr!!! [Account overdraft]

Post by ddunca1944 » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:23 am

Professor Emeritus wrote:
ddunca1944 wrote:I immediately paid it in full from the joint account - online. This was on Aug 8. On Aug 13, Amex tried - aggain - pull payment from my checking (even though Amex showed the account as paid in full with a 0 balance).
I called Amex again, and was, again, told "Sorry. Nothing they could do".
Ask them for a statement in writing that they continue to bill on an account after getting paid

It is clearly a violation of the Fair Credit Billing Act http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/02 ... it-billing

"You also can sue a creditor who violates the FCBA. If you win, you may be awarded damages, plus twice the amount of any finance charge — as long as it's between $500 and $5,000, or higher amounts if a pattern or practice of violations is established. The court also may order the creditor to pay your attorney's fees and costs."

I find that a quick mention of the FCBA to a supervisor works wonders
Thank you. I did not know that. I am going to write Amex and ask or a refund for the two NSF charges. So far telephoning has accomplished nothing. Everyone has been so nice and sorry and there is "nothing they can do"... :(

gvsucavie03
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Re: Amex - grrr!!! [Account overdraft]

Post by gvsucavie03 » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:25 am

cut up the card and close the account??

ddunca1944
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Re: Amex - grrr!!! [Account overdraft]

Post by ddunca1944 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:44 am

gvsucavie03 wrote:cut up the card and close the account??
Exactly what I did. But I'm still going to write and ask for a refund of the two $28 NSF charges. All it will cost me is a postage stamp and the worst they can do now is say, "no".

LifeIsGood
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Re: Amex - grrr!!! [Account overdraft]

Post by LifeIsGood » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:50 pm

I've had good luck getting an AmEx problem solved via Twitter. If you have an account, give it a try.

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