I signed up for an American Express credit card which was advertising a $225 bonus upon signing up for the card and spending some $1200 in the first six months, which I did and received the cash reward. For the 4 other credit cards I have owned in the US over the last 8 years, I have never had an issue with AutoPay once. However, with this card, I had apparently got into trouble setting up Autopay on the website and got charged some $70 in late payment fees. I continued to find the AutoPay page confusing.

I called them to request to cancel this account mentioning what clearly seemed like a poorly designed AutoPay webpage, and I had only had this card for 7 months till then. The agent did not notify me on the call that if I would cancel then (less than 12 months of holding the card), I would have to pay them back the $225, and I later learned it's their policy to inform the customer in such cases who is looking to cancel an account. A few days later of course, I was made to pay back that cash award amount.

I called them back asking about this, and told them I was not well informed that I would lose this cash reward, otherwise I would not have requested to cancel the card then. They put me on hold for literally 50 minutes and came back saying they will investigate that first phone call where the agent did not properly inform me and then get back to me. No one got back to me over email which always I would have said is the preferred mode of communication, and then I called them again 3 weeks later and they again said they will investigate, after putting me on hold for 30 minutes. In the meantime they reopened the account. Two weeks later, I called them again, and they put me on hold for 20 minutes again, and finally told me they will not reimburse the statement credit.

I again wrote to them via chat asking to close this account for good, and then over chat got a perfunctory notice saying "Cancelling your account will result in your forfeiting any earned cash reward."

I understand there is probably no legal recourse since the fine print mentions the cash reward would be forfeited upon closing within a year and likely mentions nothing about the representatives having to give any warning over phone or chat, but is there any recourse for the wasting of time and the misleading customer service when I requested them to investigate and try to return the cash reward which they didn't even after reopening the account?

1 Answer 1


but is there any recourse for the wasting of time and the misleading customer service when I requested them to investigate and try to return the cash reward which they didn't even after reopening the account?

No. Wasting your time was your choice.

American Express are notorious for clawing back rewards if cards are closed too quickly, and the period of 1 year I believe is explicitly spelled out in their ToS.

  • It was not my choice that they said they will get back to me with a solution and kept me waiting for 50 minutes and then 30 minutes and actually then saying they will do something about this. That is very easy to understand. Of course, I was looking for a favorable resolution and rightly so, but the wait was humongous and not my choice. Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 3:50
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    @AritroPathak - You could have hung up at any time and just accepted the current state of things. It was your choice to continue pursuing it - no one was forcing you to stay on the line or even cancel at all. You could have called up and asked to set up auto-pay over the phone (or to be walked through it) instead of trying to cancel and uncancel and cancel again. I'm not saying you were wrong to make the decisions you did, but it was your choice to take that road.
    – Bobson
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 18:54
  • Anyone with functioning cognition would understand that I meant that I was staying on the line for 50 minutes because the agent told me a favorable resolution was possible and gave no indication that the credit reversal was irrevocable. After those 50 minutes they gave no clear indication and told me they would get back to me later. Also, I believe their Autopay webpage is deliberately confusing to effect this outcome, something which seems very unique with peer credit card companies. In this situation, how is it difficult to understand that these people behave like giant sleazebags? Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 20:33
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    @AritroPathak other than annoyance, what damage have you sustained that couldn't have been avoided by hanging up? If you nag them enough maybe they'll throw you a bone, but you're asking to be compensated for your time when you were in the wrong and they were trying to do something for you anyway. They failed, but they tried, and if anything - it was you wasting their time asking for something you were not entitled to from the beginning.
    – littleadv
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 20:50
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    If I stayed on hold for 50 minutes and got a non-answer, I'd be pretty annoyed, too. But an hour of my time is worth more than $70 to me, so I would have just hung up and written it off as a lost cause. You chose differently, which is perfectly valid, but you don't get to say you didn't have a choice.
    – Bobson
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 0:52

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