Amex drops credit limit on customer for shopping where poor people shop

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Apparently, even those of you with pristine credit histories should be careful about shopping when the poor people shop. At least, that was the experience of Kevin Johnson of Atlanta, who had the credit limit on his American Express card slashed because he shopped in the wrong stores, despite having no negative information in his credit history.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Johnson received a letter from American Express explaining that his limit had been dropped because other customers that shopped where he chose to shop have a poor history of paying their credit card debt to AMEX. Looking at his spending history, Johnson couldn't fathom what stores AMEX was referring to, since his statement showed the same kind of charges most of ours do; restaurants like Ruby Tuesday, retailers such as Wal-Mart, and, of course, Starbucks.

A company spokesperson contacted by the Journal-Constitution declined to comment on the incident, but did confess that as part of the company's ongoing attempt to manage risk it takes into account purchases made by the cardholder from vendors who tend to draw a higher percentage of credit card deadbeats.

If I were a retailer, I would be livid at the thought that American Express was punishing its customers for shopping at my store. As a consumer, I believe that any credit card company that would adjust the terms of my agreement based on the credit worthiness of other people who shop where I shop should be obligated to tell me which stores would damange my credit worthiness. Or are they more interested in forcing me to shop at upscale (read: overpriced) retailers so they can make more money?

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