One thing I learned recently is to be careful applying a credit card number to a company so that it can regularly tap into the account.
  A few years ago, my wife Kathy gave a company that provides Web-site support her American Express card number to cover the monthly fees for its services. The system worked fine until the company started having problems keeping the sites operating.
  In November, Kathy cancelled the service and opted to let another company support her four Web sites. However, the original company continues to charge her card account. So each month, I have to call AmEx customer service (my wife got fed up dealing with the matter so she makes me handle it) and ask that the charges be reversed.
  We've tried everything to get the company to stop billing us, including calling its customer-service number. But the call goes to a competitor's customer-service department. Go figure. We also sent e-mail messages to the company's president, who goes by just his first name, "Beau." Still no response.
  We even cancelled Kathy's card, thinking then the billings would just bounce back to the company. But AmEx says card cancellations do not affect automatic billings applied to its cards. I'm hoping that when the original card hits its expiration date later this year the matter will be over. I'm not counting on it, though.
  AmEx has credited my wife's account without question when I call, and it apparently is charging back the four monthly billings, which range from $9.95 to $14.95. Seems the charges are too small to merit full investigation to correct the problem. At least that's what a customer-service agency told me on the phone.
  And that apparently is the problem. My charges aren't big enough for AmEx to justify using its authority as an acquirer to take action against the merchant. It would that I just keep calling a few times every month when I see the billings appear on my online statement.
  Meanwhile, I'm starting to get to know AmEx's customer-service agents on a first-name basis.
  (c) 2007 Cards&Payments and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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