One Cent Credit

A few months ago I canceled my American Express Gold Card. I’d been a “member” for about ten years, and for the first few years I didn’t mind paying the annual fee because, as I saw it, it was a small price to pay for the prestige of having an American Express Gold card! Also, most years I’d recoup the fee by taking advantage of some of its benefits, such as being able to refuse the extra insurance on car rentals.

But now that I’m all grown up I’ve lost the need to flash gold at hotels and restaurants. To be precise, I still go to hotels and restaurants, but I no longer feel the need for the flash, particularly since I know (and really, have always known) that it doesn’t really impress anybody. So why bother paying the fee for gold?

Well, year after year the annual fee would sneak up on me. I’d always forget that the card was coming up for renewal, and when the fee would show up on my statement I’d think “oh well, might as well keep it for another year.” But last year I got smart. I used Future Me to send myself an email the month before the card was to automatically renew, reminding me to cancel it.

And that’s exactly what I did. When I got the email from Future Me I paid off the balance, waited a couple of days, then phoned and canceled the card. There was only one problem; when I paid the balance I mistyped and paid exactly one cent more than the amount owing. A month later I got a statement from American Express for the canceled card, with a zero balance, but a notice that there was a one cent credit.

my amex bill

So now what? It’s not like I’m going to demand they cut me a cheque for a penny. If I ignore it, they’ll send me these one cent credit notices for the rest of my life. I suppose I could always call them and let them know they can keep the penny, but I’m not prepared to lose an hour of my life explaining to some guy in Bangalore why I paid an extra cent and why I don’t mind if they keep it. I could always write to them, but experience tells me that writing to a bank is like writing to Orwell’s “Big Brother,” but in a Kafka novel.

What do you suggest?

Posted in

16 thoughts on “One Cent Credit

  1. You gotta do something! Just think how annoying it will be to keep getting those notices! (Not to mention a waste of paper and your time opening & disposing of them). Ask them to close the account. Chances are they have some policy anyways for not cutting a cheque under a certain amount.

    It will be a pain in the ass to call for sure, but as an old boss of mine used to say, you can be up to your neck in shit for a short period of time or wading in it for a long period of time. Plug your nose and get it over with!

  2. I’ve been telling him to call, and if I could call myself I would. It would take him a few minutes to deal with (vs the time it took him to write a blog post and build a survey ;-)

    On the other hand, it might take longer than that: The previous owners of our house left without giving us a forwarding address, and no one seems to know how to find them (not even the bailiff who showed up here once for them on a very rainy day). They are invisible to Google’s eyes as well.

    For 5 years now, an American Express statement has been coming every month for the ex owners. I’ve sent them back to Amex with a “partis sans laisser d’adresse” notice and when I saw that it didn’t work and that I still kept getting the statements, I called Amex to tell them about the situation. They said that only the people who own this account could do anything about the situation. I told them that they can’t do anything about it because they are NOT receiving it, but Amex didn’t care.

    They’ve been sending the statements every month and I’ve been saving them, not knowing what to do. I’m thinking about building a big art project with them and then mail the result to some manager at Amex. Maybe they’d like it for their office.

  3. Oh, and I should have added that Amex actually OWES money to these people, and not the other way around.

  4. I had a card which had a credit and at the end of the year they automatically sent a check. It was $16, but it appears they wanted to close their books. It doesn’t sound like Amex is that proactive.

    We also keep getting mail with checks and savings bond reports for a previous owner, but all we can do is hold onto it for a while then recycle it.

  5. See? That’s exactly it. AMEX has already established itself as UNABLE to deal with a simple request; even when it saves them money.

    I should also state that I have a long history of being unable to get any satisfaction when dealing with banks and credit cards.

    I once spent seven months trying to get VISA (via TD Bank) to accept my change of address. They finally did after I sent a large package directly to the bank president. In the box was about 100 pages of accordioned computer paper on which I spelled out my request for a change of address, one character per page. That did it.

  6. They won’t send you a credit notice I think. There is no change in the account, so no monthly statement. A. lost her Amex card, got a new one, and thus a new number. But the old one got a refund so the balance was not zero anymore. I tried to have it transferred to the new card but eventually gave up. No statements from Amex. They just pocket it after they really close the account in 10 years or so.

  7. Ask to switch to electronic statements and flush these in the Internet darkhole? :P

  8. Mare, they HAVE been sending the credit statements. There’s a picture of one right there in my blog post! I’ve been getting one every month since about July of last year.

  9. It’s not fair. You get preferential treatment. I also want a monthly statement of debit.

  10. Why don’t you just change your statement to have an electronic statement sent to you instead of paper?

  11. I vote for the art project. Sounds like Blork would rather do that than call them anyways.

    I’d be curious to see the gender breakdown of your poll :).

  12. I love the comments so far. While I originally suggested to just forget it, I didn’t realize you were receiving these notices since the cancellation!

    I don’t think a phone call is necessary: a simple letter should do. And yes, do publish your efforts here! :-)

    (This will become one of the most expensive “penny” transactions for sure.)

  13. Can’t recall if AMEX includes a postage paid envelope or not but if they do, rejig that statement to read that they owe you a penny and that you’re requesting it be paid and return it every month. Throw in any other junk mail you might have as well. ;-)

  14. I just think of the waste-with the cost of postage going up. I know a person who received a $.01 check from merrill lynch. How much did that check generate, in cost, to this financial “giant”. I think that if a check amount of under $.50 should go into a fund to help the homeless and hungry. If customers had something to sign giving up that amount, how much it could help others. Then those companies could send out a yearly statement that their clients can write off as a contribution. I bet there are plenty of these types of checks in the landfill or lying in a pile of mail.

Comments are closed.