Plastic Nightmares

Posted Wed, 01/31/07

If you are on the prowl for a credit card for the first time, I advise the following: completely avoid American Express, Washington Mutual (formerly Providian), MBNA and Wachovia. Wilbert and I have had terrible experiences with all of these companies, whereby they showed their true, greedy and unscrupulous colors.

We have long since paid off our credit cards with the latter three mentioned above, but when we tried to pay off our American Express account, they kept firing back with "accrued interest" and notices of further charges. One of the "further charges" was an old web account I originally had with ZDNET, which has since been bought out by Web.Com. I ceased using this account in 2002, canceling the web space at that time. However, after ZDNET was purchased by Web.Com, they suddenly started drawing monthly web space charges in June 2006, four years after the account closing.

Not only did American Express honor the draws, they ignored my repeated attempts to inform them the account was no longer valid through e-mail, telephone calls and postal mail. I told the credit card conglomerate to refuse further charges, yet they turned a blind eye and continued to do so.

When that mess was finally cleared and the account was paid in full, American Express sent another bill for "accrued interest." The charge was minimal ($45), but the idea that we paid the account in full online, long before the due date, peeved the money-hungry corporation. American Express is like a dog with a bone, refusing to let go even though customers are no longer in their debt.

Credit cards are a plague. American Express is one of the worst, no matter what you may hear or read about them. Customer service representatives of the company are rude and abrupt, and their account coordination is nonexistent.

On that note, Washington Mutual (formerly Providian), creeps up your interest rate and then suddenly cuts off your line of credit for no reason. In plain English, they suck. Providian also dismisses valid complaints and interacts with customers as if they are idiots, much like the President of the United States treats the nation's citizens.