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Trying to reclaim £450 Amex Platinum Card membership fee via FoS

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I hope someone might be able to provide some general advice.


I am trying to reclaim £450 in Platinum Card membership fees, I have already unsuccessfully been through their complaints process and they've sent me the FoS leaflet.


1 - I've had both a British Airways Amex card and a Platinum Amex Charge card (with flexselect credit) for almost ten years. The latter has a membership fee of £450, paid in December


2 - I hadn't actually used the Platinum Card for two years until April 2015 when I tried to use it to pay for a hotel abroad - declined, despite my statement telling me I had over £1000 of my £3500 Flexselect credit available


3 - I rang Amex, and they essentially told me that because I was a risky customer, they were declining to put through my charges. Yes, late last year I ran into financial difficulties and had problems making loan and credit card payments and this will have affected my credit file


4 - However, at no time did Amex tell me I can't use the card. There is no notification on my online account, and I have received no letters or phone calls, so this is the first I had heard of it


5 - In fact the card does work sometimes. It usually works for smaller (less than £20) amounts in supermarkets etc. Not always. Yesterday an £8 charge went through, today a £17 one didn't


6 - I wrote to Amex making a complaint asking that my card be downgraded to one of the free ones, and that as I had been sold a card I can't actually make full use of, that my year's membership should be refunded


7 - Amex has rejected the complaint saying I could only have a pro rata refund (which I guess would be £300 odd) and making me aware that they can basically stop me using it when they want as it says so in the Tcs and Cs


I would now like to complain to the FoC. The basis of my complaint will be that Amex knowingly sold me a card membership I can't make full use of, and never told me that I can't fully use the card. Had I known this, I would not have paid them the £450 at the end of last year.


I have two questions:


1 - There is £550 due to be paid next week, some of this is from the small purchases I have been able to make - public transport, small supermarket shops etc. The rest is from my flex select balance.


I am in a position to pay this, but would there be any grounds for me not to, if I am disputing the account? Or would this make things worse and I should just pay up as normal.


2 - Because the Amex card seems to work for most smaller charges, does this in any way negate my complaint? The £450 membership is sold with various travel benefits, but as I discovered I can't actually use the card when travelling


Any other advice of how I should approach this with the FoS is appreciated.


Thank you for hearing me out, all being well I'll look to submit my FoS complaint in the next few days

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