In a TikTok clip with 160,000 views, Jason Szuch (@wificaptain) unfolds a cautionary tale about his business dealings with American Express, highlighting the unpredictable nature of corporate finance and trust.
Through a detailed recounting of events that he claims led to a significant financial setback for his business, Szuch’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the complexities and potential pitfalls of relying heavily on a single financial institution for business operations. The clip’s overlay reads, “American Express screwed my company.”
At the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey, Szuch embraced American Express wholeheartedly, he said. “I found American Express, and I got their platinum card and started doing everything in my business through American Express.” His commitment to the company was so profound that it influenced his office culture, “It was almost like a cult around my office. You know, everything that we could put on the American Express card, we could.”
This reliance on American Express even afforded him considerable rewards, “I actually modeled two houses on the points that I got from my American Express card.”
However, the narrative takes a dramatic turn with the economic downturn of 2008-2009. While traveling in Europe, Szuch discovered that American Express had abruptly reduced his available credit, causing significant operational and financial strain on his business. “American Express has cut off our credit card,” relayed messages from his office, signaling the onset of a crisis. Despite a history of substantial monthly expenditures and a flawless payment record, he says the credit card giant began to systematically lower his credit limit “from 300,000… then the next day they lowered it to 200, then the next day they lowered it to 100.”
This unilateral decision by American Express not only disrupted Szuch’s business operations but also imposed an immediate financial burden, “What they did in screwing me is they… made that total $200,000 payable immediately within that period of time.”
The repercussions were severe, culminating in a hefty penalty from American Express and the eventual termination of Szuch’s relationship with the company: “They charged me a $5,000 penalty, and I canceled my relationship with American Express, and I’ve never done business with them since.”
Szuch’s experience underscores the critical importance of trust and communication in business financial relationships. His narrative is a powerful testament to the need for diversification in banking and credit arrangements to mitigate risks: “Don’t put too much trust in one particular bank or one particular credit card. Don’t structure your whole business around that particular entity,” he said.
The video shares Szuch’s personal ordeal and sparks a broader discussion on the reliability and practices of financial institutions like American Express. His concluding remarks emphasize the necessity of building business operations on the right foundation: “So if you are looking to start a business, understand that you have to do business with people who you can trust.”
This sentiment has resonated with many, as evidenced by similar expressions of disillusionment in the video’s comments section, highlighting a collective wariness toward American Express among other entrepreneurs.
One woman recalls, “I worked for Amex during that time. In the small business department. The financial crisis in 2008 basically scared them, and they started cutting credit limits.”
“Banks across the board were ruthless around 2008,” another person concurs.
“AMEX is the worst,” said one commenter. “We ran our company for eight years flawlessly. Then, because we got an SBA loan, they cut off our cards. We switched to Capital One. Never had an issue again.” A similar experience to Szuch was explained: “Amex cut me off during a business trip saying they thought I couldn’t pay. Cut the card up and sent it in with my check. Never again.”
Another person joked, “‘This is America Express…we are cutting this video off. Thank you.'”
@wificaptain Starting a business. Find people and companies you can trust. #startabsuiness #entrepreneur #americanexpress #americanexpressplatinum @American Express ♬ original sound – Jason Szuch
Szuch’s story, shared through the lens of social media, illuminates the challenges small business owners face when navigating the financial services landscape. It serves as a cautionary tale, urging budding entrepreneurs to evaluate their financial partnerships critically and reminding them that the pillars of their business should rest on reliable, communicative, and trustworthy entities.
The Daily Dot has contact Szuch and American Express for comment.