Posted by Chuck on November 5, 2018
Deals

Published on November 5th, 2018 | by Chuck

424

Amex Offer Credits Getting Clawed Back for Using Multiple Cards [Second Round Sent Out]

Update 11/05/2018: Second round of e-mails have now been sent out :(.

Amex just sent out an email to some people indicating that they’ll be clawing back Amex Offer credits for offers which were used on more than one card per SSN. Specifically, the 10% off Staples offer (which goes up to $100 credit) many of us saved on multiple cards under separate logins. (Amex used to allow saving one offer per login, and some people even saved it on multiple cards in the same login using the multi-tab trick.) The emails are being sent out to limit each person/SSN to a single $100 credit, not allowing a second credit on an authorized user card or on another primary card.

We may well see a claw back on the 10% Lowe’s offer too.

Not sure if they are only clawing back heavy hitters or everyone. This whole thing is very surprising since they’d typically only change things going forward, like they did by disabling the multi-tab method. Some people are taking a huge loss on this.  🙁

The terms do state: “Limit of $100 in total statement credits per American Express® Card Member,” but that could easily mean per card as each card is typically treated separately. All other limits work per card, e.g. $1,500 Freedom limit, $200 Amex Platinum airline credit, etc. I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see in the Chase Freedom terms “limit $1,500 per card member” despite it being tied to the card, not the person. Doesn’t seem ethical to enforce vague terms against all precedent without notice.

No charges are actually showing yet in the Amex account, presumably they’ll show up within days or when the statement closes.

All of this doesn’t have much relevance going forward since the Amex system now limits us to one offer per person. For offers already saved, I’d certainly be wary of using more than one Staples or Lowe’s offer going forward. As for regular statement credit offers: I feel like those are more safe – my guess is the 10% Staples, Lowe’s, etc offers Amex is covering some or all of the cost as those are to be the replacement of the OPEN program. Regular Amex Offers the retailer swallows the cost so hopefully they’ll be fine.

Image from a friend:

Update 8/30/18: More rounds on clawbacks have come out. Also, some people are already seeing the clawbacks showing on their Amex statements.



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Parts Unknown
Parts Unknown

Holy fuck

mommafrica
mommafrica

LOL! and choking…..

Catholic church
Catholic church

Child you promised you wouldn’t talk about your choir experience.

Stvr
Stvr

Small. Claims. Court.

GradCashGrab

All abroad the train!

Josh
Josh

Came here to say this. They have no ground to stand on from what I can see.

Parts Unknown
Parts Unknown

the T&C would argue otherwise

Josho
Josho

T&C could also state that they are allowed to charge an additional 200% of every purchase to the card member, but that wouldn’t make it legal. T&C are not law.

rj123456
rj123456

Not a fan of Amex but by agreeing to Ts&Cs isn’t the card user in a contractual relationship with Amex? As long as the specific term is not illegal, wouldn’t Amex prevail?

Snorlax
Snorlax

Absolutely.

Kent C
Kent C

Yes it would. Contract law.

Dom
Dom

LOL at all the wannabe lawyers. One per card member sounds pretty clear to me.

Frank
Frank

WE NEED JUSTICE!

Leo
Leo

+1

PT
PT

In their T&C, they define Basic Cardmember and Additional Cardmember. So, limit one offer per Cardmember – Big oops?

Sara Logan
Sara Logan

Also, you could argue you paid the annual fee on the associated card for the full benefits. With each new card, you pay the FULL annual fee but you dont get all the benefits with each new card..

Snorlax
Snorlax

Huuuhhh? The T&C always said “per cardmember” not “per card.”

sam
sam

And if they want it that way, they should have set up their system to be that way. Glad I got in for several Lowe’s offers months ago.

Snorlax
Snorlax

Seriously?… you wouldn’t say that if a mistake in their system worked out in their favor and you didn’t get the bonus and they said “well, it was an honest mistake, too bad for you.”

sam
sam

Yeah I wouldn’t. They made the rules, they made the system to enforce the rules. If someone did something extraordinary to get by the rules, fine, their fault. Otherwise, Amex needs to have its own crap figured out or end up like Citi.

Eric
Eric

What do you mean “end up like Citi”?

sam
sam
Jason Smith
Jason Smith

Really? The Staples offer was not available to be loaded onto multiple cards unless you used the multi tab TRICK. So you really think you are going to file a lawsuit and claim since I used a trick to find a way around them limiting it to 1 card and the terms said it was limited to 1 card, Amex should be liable?

Celia
Celia

That’s not true. I have two business Amex cards under my name, two different products, that each had the offer. I didn’t need to do a multi tab trick.

Dave
Dave

People who were setup with an account per card weren’t doing any sort of trick. The offer showed up on login for each account without any shenanigans,

Gadget
Gadget

For S&G’s I tested this today. I am not a heavy Amex user (have 3 cards under two logins) and only done a few offers ever, so I do not exploit the system but was curious. More than 9 out of 10 of the offers are for overpriced retail BS.

With two different Amex logins, I agree, you do get duplicated offers – some on login A are the same as login B on different Amex cards. However, if you add one offer to card login A, it disappears off login B if they are identical offers, UNLESS you have them both opened up on the screen at the same time and don’t refresh. (What would fix this for Amex is if you login you get logged out at all other locations….)

This is essentially the same as doing the multiple tab trick, which I’m surprised still works it appears – so now they are just paying attention to payouts. But, it’s gaming the system and I would call that shenanigans.

If terms state one offer per card-member, you have no room to complain when they take back a bonus in my opinion. Do the offers as intended (login on one screen, add offers, move to next card) and you have no headaches to worry about.

Snorlax
Snorlax

> Do the offers as intended (login on one screen, add offers, move to next card) and you have no headaches to worry about.

+1

I’ve done a couple using the multi tab trick before, but, honestly, it’s always a gamble if they’d pay out for the same offer done on multiple cards, and I wouldn’t have been upset if they didn’t pay out the couple times I redeemed the same offer more than once.

havai
havai

Why small claims? Let’s go class action. Where’s Alex?

Bill S
Bill S

The cardmember agreements all forbid class action, but binding arbitration or small claims are allowed.

Carlos
Carlos

Dont mean shit, many arb agreements have been shot down in courts.

Darr (Alex Darr) - Points Lawyer

Darr here! Have we taught you nothing? These banks have you locked in tight to arbitration! Thankfully, arbitration is what we do!

Yoni
Yoni

Darr (Alex Darr) - Points Lawyer yes but with new tax law passed, win or lose you can longer write off or deduct legal fees (except businesses in the normal course of business i.e. Issuers ).

Any settlements are taxed on 100% of award amount before contingency fees, and or arb. filing fees.

“Last year even if you did not qualify to deduct your legal fees above the line, you could deduct them below the line. A below the line (miscellaneous itemized) deduction was more limited, but was still a deduction. Now, there is no below the line deduction for legal fees. Do two checks (one to lawyer, one to plaintiff) obviate the income to plaintiff? Not according to Banks. IRS Form 1099 regulations generally require defendants to issue a Form 1099 to the plaintiff for the full settlement, even if part of the money is paid to the plaintiff’s lawyer.”

So it’s almost impossible to attempt to be made whole (or recover damages – damages other PIP, and a few other narrow personal Injuries are exempt ). So say hypothetically someone had $20k in clawbacks and won and was awarded damages plus atty fees, the $20k + fees would be taxed on total amount.

Darr (Alex Darr) - Points Lawyer

This is partially true, and undoubtedly a barrier. But keep in mind that Publication 529 and the tax code still provide for above-the-line deductions of attorney’s fees in some cases. Additionally, as you note, if you can tie it to a business, then deduct the fees as business expenses.

For large settlements, many clients take the 1099 on a schedule C, deduct business expenses, and go that route. After all, wasn’t the point of filing the lawsuit to make money?

**Definitely not legal OR tax advice!**

askmrlee

This is why you read your T&C’s carefully and send in your arbitration opt-out letter to Amex within 30 days of opening your account per their instructions.

Darr (Alex Darr) - Points Lawyer

I know that seems like the prudent move. But, in my experience, you will not find a lawyer to take that case.

Yoni
Yoni

Darr (Alex Darr) - Points Lawyer so you work on contingency?

Also are you the Atty, that I read about in article, going after and winning, and like 6-8 white shoe corp. Atty show up for I think Amex or Citi IIRC?

I just can’t place the article ATM.

Just trying to figure one could use a schedule C – IRS has viewed CC pts as rebates and not income only bank bonuses are 1099-int and income per se and I don’t think any of us want to be taxed on reward points. While mileage, bank fees, AF, MO fees could be considered deductible expenses, without tangible income stream or product that generates revenue even at a loss i.e. reselling or attempting to, and the Hobby vs Business test.

Less of an issue if one regularly files schedule C, and MS is ancillary. I guess one could make the case for the settlement was based on loss from the activity.

I think the biggest hurdle, would be the mens rea with the multi-tab AND with anything that was misrepresented to maximize the offers i.e. AU legal names and same SSN. A little different if AUs are/were in names of family members. Any misrepresentation on applications, and a FR would like bring this to light and if not discovery and Interogratories could lead to summary judgement and sanctions for those with “businesses” and no schedule C filed or anything to substantiate business activity.

Don’t have a JD nor am I a CPA, so this is not legal or tax advice.

Probably the easiest way to mitigate the pain of the clawbacks is the business model and writing off the losses against taxes this year, and not taking de mins safe harbor for home office but use actually sq’ and portion of Utils, mortgage/rent, etc and also using an app like Triplog mileage tracker. As well as include a few other side hobby /side gig related income streams.

That said I do agree with you about the Arbitration vs class action, cause a case like this even if it prevailed after being certified, and all the fees most CA awards are pittance of the damage.

Darr (Alex Darr) - Points Lawyer

Hi Yoni,
Almost all of my work is on contingency. You probably have read some articles by my partner Alex Bachuwa or it may have been an article I wrote. We collaborate on a lot of work, and lately I’ve been handling the bank and CC claims generally while Alex explores other opportunities. We’ve both squared off with white shoe firms and found success in this arena.

Your points about taxability are good and relevant, but sort of beyond the scope of my earlier point. Without getting into the weeds of rebate taxability, the effort to recover money from a bank, in and of itself, is an attempt to make a profit. And so the lawsuit and its proceeds would be the business activity (with no consideration of rebate taxability). But it allows for schedule C and writing off of fees.

Cheers

Francisco J Rios
Francisco J Rios

So don’t risk it on the Marriott that I added to all my cards. Thanks for the heads up

SideshowBob
SideshowBob

Jfc Amex. This is worse than the week I spent in the Oz prison. Ouch.

Kris
Kris

I don’t care about the Amex clawbacks, I would rather hear about why you went to Oz prison.

Alan
Alan

Tried to kill Bart.

Eric
Eric

What’s Jfc?

David
David
Credit
Credit

Wtf? If they want to revise the past do it all the way. Make me a few days younger too. They can’t pick and choose.

THE offer was added to the card and we used the offer. What the fuck is wrong with amex.

Abey

Does it make sense its only on offers that cost Amex money like Staples where Amex is the one paying the 10% back but not on offers where the merchent pays it like Boxed?

Brandonduh
Brandonduh

WOW – scary, but it looks like it’s just for that one specific offer right now?

amex420
amex420

what is scarry?
That shopkeeper started catching shoplifters?

Dan
Dan

i’m sure he’s referring to more of the bait and switch aspect

Davy
Davy

And I’m sure he was referring to the actions of 90% of those complaining in these comments.

Snorlax
Snorlax

1) Use loopholes to bypass T&C

2) Claim bait and switch??

2 doesn’t follow from 1.

GradCashGrab

Wow wtf
Even if it was across different products or AUs.
And they did this instead of fixing their glitch? Guess what, I want to claw back from them my SWIPE fees since I wouldn’t have shopped at Staples otherwise!

john
john

Totally agreed, if I would only get $100 statement at Lowes, I wouldn’t waste $24.75 for 5 VGC. We have to take lost also. Not to mentioned time wasted and liquidated fees.

Chaseing Points
Chaseing Points

So you’re saying it’s not fair when you come away in the red, but it’s totally fair if Amex does. Gotcha.

Stryker
Stryker

LOL.
People need to remember that avenues open and close in this game all the time.

Sara Logan
Sara Logan

Antoher RAT!

Aditya Shrivastava
Aditya Shrivastava

WTF!

Nate
Nate

Wow shitty to the max amex. Just checked and i have email across 5 cards

Stryker
Stryker

RAT is on an intense hunting mode.

Parkerthon
Parkerthon

Rat has to find something to keep justifying their jobs now that they got a handle on bonus churners and MS. I’m glad I stopped chasing amex offers about a year ago and started downgrading/shutting off my amex cards. The reality is amex offers and amex cards suck now. It’s only going to keep getting worse.

Stryker
Stryker

I still have OBC. Hope they are not axed.

Masa
Masa

Wow, this is a surprise. But T&C are clear on this and every other offer

W
W

You work for AmEx? Lol. I agree it is fairly clear but the way you said that seems so odd.

Jason
Jason

>the way you said that seems so odd.

I didn’t think so. In any case, does it matter?

KB
KB

Guess they meant it when they said “Limit of $100 in total statement credits per American Express Card Member.” Wowzers…

Dima
Dima

Woah, RAT was probably upset that Chase was getting all the attention with Sapphire 48 month rule, and figured they’d one up them.

diggs
diggs

Chase: When it comes to pissing off customers, we’re the best!
Amex: Hold my beer…

Abey

I made a lot of advanced rover bookings. I hope they dont claw back all the $20s. It will be $260. And Olive Garden like $300 🙈

diggs
diggs

Got the email on 3 out of 4 cards for which the offer was redeemed. Ordered $1200 VGC’s per card ($300 x 4). Fortunately all 4 cards earn 5% back on Office Supplies, which more than covers the VGC + liquidation fees. This won’t be a money loser, but in light of the clawbacks, it certainly was not worth all the effort to liquidate 16 VGC’s over time. 4 VGC’s would have yielded almost the same profit for FAR LESS effort.

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