May 19, 2010

American Express: The Gift That Gives To Itself

Today I started using my first big boy wallet. There's no velcro or a hole to attach a chain, no dated tribal designs or embroidered elephants, and it isn't made out of duct tape. It's just a boring bi-fold leather thing that won't seem to stay closed on its own. Even though I just tossed out a lot of extraneous plastic and paper (FYI--I stopped carrying my Ren & Stimpy Yak Shaving Day card when it expired back in '00), I still have too much crap in it.

There's one item that seems to be getting smaller since I first received it though--an American Express Gift Card in the amount of $50. I received it from a boss of mine as a work incentive for doing something I can't recall years ago. My plan was pool it together with other gift certificates I'd received from the company and buy myself a laptop.

Well, as it turns out, American Express cards don't sit around and wait for you to spend them. Like regular credit cards, they expire, but... the fucking money disappears from them years before the expiration date. Let me blow up the fine print for you:

"Subject to $2.00 monthly service fee applies, but is waived for the first 12 months after purchase."

My $50 gift card that I just activated for the first time today is actually only worth $38 (if I use it today, that is). Doing the math, this means American Express started deducting its "fee" 6 months ago, and the card was purchased 18 total months ago.  The card "expires" in July 2011. Yeah, the fucking $12 that would still be left on it in July 2011.  Considering that American Express actually charges $3.95 for a $50 card in the first place, this is a real scam and a half.

Is it my fault for not reading the fine print and spending the money sooner? Sure, I guess it is a little bit, but seriously, who would assume that a gift card would have strings attached? besides the obvious and reasonable expiration date, of course. But who in their right mind would assume that a service fee would be applied TO SOMETHING THAT'S NOT EVEN BEING USED. Serve me, and then I can see you collecting service fee. I mean, it's a gift, and they're cool with robbing from it? American Express can lick Ticketmaster's fucking taint while it gets a dinosaur diarrhea burrito stuck up its ass.

Sorry, I've been watching too much Angry Video Game Nerd.

1 comment:

Harry Badface said...

It is a complete scam, and they ALL do it. I lost a few cards for Sakks or some place I would never shop a few years back due to the same thing.