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American Express OPEN? Nope Closed

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Crain’s New York details American Express’s latest dumb move. Looking to shore up their risk and loss rates, Amex is freezing, lowering and closing the credit lines of many small business owners who have never missed a payment. And they are doing it without warning.

From Crain’s, Andreea Ayers, founder of Tees for Change, who says her profit has been undermined because she couldn't make a large purchase and she wasn't informed in advance that her credit line had been cut in half. "I understand that they're trying to protect themselves in a bad economy," Townsend says. "I just feel like they're lumping all their customers into one group, as opposed to looking at them individually." Crain's New York Business

American Express has invested a lot over the past few years in their American Express OPEN site. Targeting small business owners, the site provides forums and information for a group that generally dislikes American Express. For retailers and restaurants, credit card fees are universally hated and this is particularly true for small business owners. For small business owners, Amex is usually considered the worst in terms of fees and potential hassle.

So after courting the market and trying to make amends, what do they do? Completely undermine any good will that they might have earned and basically cement the view that they are unfriendly to small business. No amount of PR or marketing in an improved economy will undo this perception.