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The Green Card Turns Red All Over


In Business This Week

THE GREEN CARD TURNS RED ALL OVER

The little guy wins one. Douglas Coulter, an American professor at the Russian Economic Academy, has a heavy load teaching his eager students the intricacies of the free-market system. So he resented the time it took to clear up a dispute with American Express. While he was in Moscow, the company misplaced his $1,000 wire-transfer payment, then canceled his card.

When Coulter returned home on leave in August, he brought suit against Amex in the Ossipee (N.H.) District Court near his home. His tab: $50 an hour for the 7.5 hours spent proving he had paid his bill. The court on Aug. 16 awarded Coulter the full $375--the first time a court has awarded an Amex cardholder compensation for time wasted in a billing dispute. "I feel terrible about this," says Maureen Bailey, vice-president for public affairs. Amex says it will pay the judgment. Coulter says he can live without his card.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS


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