What to do if AmEx Won't Address Fraudulent Charges on Your Account

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If you have ever dealt with fraud, you understand how frustrating it can be. What’s worse is when your company doesn’t acknowledge it or open an investigation and yet you are on the hook for something you didn’t buy.

With American Express, customers have had issues in the past with fraudulent charges. When they reported the fraud to the correct department and sent statements, American Express simply didn’t address the report and instead held them liable.

“My American Express accounts still have a fraudulent balance on them. I have had a 2 year back and forth issue with the fraud department from American Express. I have contacted the fraud department several times including completing the fraud forms and sending in statements with the fraudulent balances. This matter needs to be cleared. Each account should reflect a zero balance owed.”

What your American Express contract says about addressing reports of fraud

American Express claims to have an entire Security Center devoted to suspicious activity. They provide you with a phone number or allow you a live chat function.

What Your AmEx Contract Says About Fraud

American Express has slightly different contracts depending on the type of card you have such as the EveryDay credit card, the Blue Cash EveryDay credit card, a Hilton Honors card, Charles Schwab investor card, or any other card. To find the exact copy of your particular card visit the American Express cardholder agreements list here.

Under section 27.2 of the Card Member Agreement with American Express it states that cardholders will not be responsible for any unauthorized charges made in person or online with their card, so long as they notify American Express as soon as they notice the fraudulent activity. 

The fine print here stipulates that you must notify them as soon as you are aware but no later than or before the due date of the statement in which those fraudulent transactions appear. If you wait too long, this section no longer applies. 

They provide the 24 hour hotline for such reports: 1 (800) 528-4800.

Your contract stipulates that American Express might cancel the existing card and send you a replacement and they might refund the amount back to your account. In the event they do not immediately respond to the amount, you are still not legally responsible for paying the disputed amount during the course of an investigation.

An investigation for fraud can take up to 90 days during which time American Express might contact the merchant to get details about the transaction, request things like receipts to compare signatures, or request police reports.

American Express can also investigate for what they consider “friendly fraud” which just means you as the card holder made a purchase and then decided to dispute it as fraud even though it wasn’t legally fraud.

The cardholder agreement does stipulate that you have a $0 fraud liability which means you should technically not pay anything no matter the outcome of the investigation or, even if an investigation takes place.

The Obligations American Express has to Address Fraud

American Express is not legally required to conduct an investigation. They are allowed to do so and whether or not they pursue that avenue is not technically supposed to impact you as the consumer because of the $0 fraud liability. However that doesn’t mean you won’t face issues with fraud charges and it also doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow up. 

According to the FTC, you have many legal rights when it comes to fraudulent charges under what is called The Fair Credit billing act or FCBA. 

Under this act, you must write to American Express about the issue in question. American Express makes it very easy to use the chat function or an email or even call them about fraud and given the fact that they require you contact them immediately, this can seem the easier route. However it is still in your best interest according to the FTC to send them a Written Letter immediately. Send the letter so that it reaches your creditor within 60 days, they recommend by certified mail with a return receipt.

It is very important that you do not send your written statement to the regular address to which you send your payments, but that you send it to the billing inquiries address. 

American Express Customer Service, 

P.O. Box 981535, 

El Paso, TX 79998

Once the letter has been sent, American Express should begin an investigation during which time you do not have to pay any part of the bill that is being investigated nor will you face additional finance charges. The FTC makes it clear that American Express is not allowed to take legal action against you regarding the disputed amount during the course of a fraud investigation. They cannot close your account or be restricted, they cannot report you to Credit Agencies or discriminate against you at any point. 

If they do, you can pursue legal avenues.

What you can do if American Express Ignores Your Fraud Reports

If American Express is not addressing your report of fraud and/or they are punishing you in some way or affecting your account in a way that violates these rights, you have other options.

Contact Customer Service

If American Express is not addressing reports of fraud, the FTC urges you to file a complaint. This gives the FTC an opportunity to investigate the situation and urge American Express to properly address the report of fraud. 

Use Consumer Arbitration to get AmEx to Listen and Compensate You

The FTC also states that if your creditor violates the FBCA you can potentially be awarded damages. This is where arbitration becomes a valuable option. 

Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution that lets you present your case in front of a third party arbitrator, and potentially get compensation  twice that of the finance charge in question and any legal fees, up to $5,000. 

You can submit a claim for free below.

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