Hello, I had a corporate American Express card. The company went out of business. American Express is claiming that I am personally responsible for the charges. I have asked for proof or something that I signed saying that I was responsible. They said they don't have anything since the card was issued originally in the 1980's.
Another person trying to collect told me that when I received the card in the mail there was some fine print attached that said that if I used the card I would be responsible.
The card actually says CORPORATE on it. What really are the liabilities personally? Is there a way to fight this?
This certainly impacts hundreds of thousands of people who have Amex Corporate cards issued to them by their company.
David, thanks for your input. The credit card was not mine, but the company's. It had my name and their name on it, it was billed to them. I was only to use it for company expenses. The bill went to the company, since they closed down the bill was not paid. There are probably 8 people with these cards all of whom are supposedly personally liable. Does that help?
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
Only a lawyer in your jurisdiction, who has reviewed your cardholder agreement and the collections information from American Express can advise you with any certainty about your liability.
However, I can say that on all of the company-issued credit cards I have ever had, I was personally responsible for all charges made. The company would typically pay the bill directly if I submitted an expense report in time, and would reimburse me if I paid the bill out of pocket because my expense report would be late, but all charges were ultimately my responsibility.
You haven't provided enough information to understand why this matters in your case. Even if your company hadn't gone under, they wouldn't have paid for _anything_ you bought on your company card, would they? If they did, perhaps that's why they went out of business: too many cardholders furnishing their media rooms on the company's nickel!
If you had charged business expenses on the card, and the company went out of business before they reimbursed you, then you should consult a lawyer because you are a creditor of the company -- you "loaned" them money to buy whatever your business expenses were for, and they failed to pay you back.
Real Estate Attorney
I agree with Mr. Madden, in my experince collecting credit card debt. We look at personal use signatures with titles and personal guarantees.
You will need to consult with a consumer protection lawyer locally.
1. Start keeping a detailed log of all calls and letters and a paper file of all information.
2. Make a written demand that all further communications from creditors is in writing under 15 USC 1692 (c).
3. Do not give them any personal information because that is how collectors decide on which accounts to recommend suing.
4. If you are going to make payments use money orders and not personal checks or “check by phone” because if they find a bank account the collector will be more likely recommend a lawsuit the their legal department.
5. All collections are negotiable; the original creditor has given up and is losing up to 50% on the face value already by splitting any return or selling at discount.
If you are going to settle mark the check “settled-in-full” at the very top back of the check and include a letter explaining you are offering a settlement, keep copies of everything.
6. Get written confirmation of any payment plan the agency will accept before making a payment.
7. Specify in writing all payments will be applied to principle first.
I do not practice in your state and you will need to consult with a local lawyer for additional protection under your state law.
I have pasted a link to the FDPCA to help you with your federal rights;
You should read the FDPCA from the link above and become informed about your rights.
I hope this information and generic advice is helpful.
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
Ah, I see. That's an unfortunate situation -- you didn't even see the bill, and now you find out you're liable.
Again, only a lawyer in your jurisdiction, who reviews your agreement and other papers, can give you accurate advice, but I think the collector who called was probably right that "there was some fine print ... that said ... you would be responsible." Of course, it's an even worse idea to take the advice of a bill collector than the advice of some guy on the Internet.
If the amount under dispute is significant (more than a couple hundred dollars) you should definitely see a lawyer. If it's less, you can still probably find a lawyer who charges less and come out ahead. If it's under $50 or so, it's probably cheaper to pay than to waste your time dealing with it.
(If it was me, I'd fight anyway, because I HATE bill collectors who have bogus or questionable debts, but I will freely admit it's a poor use of my time. I just treat it like a hobby: I win if I waste more of their time than they waste of mine!)
Criminal Defense Attorney
I would agree that you will have to take your carholders agreement to an attorney in your immediate area and consult with that attorney as t owhat your rights may be