An AmEx member no more

I was a “member” of American Express for 35 years. No more. And Amex doesn’t give a shit. So fine. We’re well rid of each other.

Tonight I had a fraud call, finding false charges made on my account in Brazil. It’s a great thing that they caught this. Amex took care of it. The person I talked to couldn’t send me a new card. That was the first of many unempowered employees I spoke with.

I stopped using my Amex cards, apart from automated billings, months ago. The first problem was that it no longer gave me Continental miles. OK; I don’t know whose fault that is. The next problem was that they started tacking on fees for foreign exchange (in addition to the markup the get on the currency conversion). That’s bullshit. For years, they taught us that the best way to deal with foreign exchange was to use the card. No more.

I’ve charged a fortune of personal and business exchanges on Amex over the years. Suddenly, I stopped. If they had customer-service data mining worth a damn, they’d have found that and contacted me to see what was wrong. No. Tonight, I told them what was wrong.

I thought they’d try to retain me as a customer. The first person only tried to sell me a platinum card for $400 a year. Oh, yes, I’m unhappy, and now I’m going to spend *more* with Amex. Is that what you have to say to me? Well, the woman said, she was not authorized to do any more. So she transferred me to the next person, who supposedly was.

He only tried to sell me Amex travel services. He would do nothing more. “Retain me,” I offered. No, he said. (And I wasn’t even nasty. Oh, yes, I can be. But I wasn’t. Since my heart problems, I’ve stopped getting my blood pressure up on calls such as these.)

I got disconnected. Accident?

I called back to get a card sent to me. Instead, I just canceled. Again, no one cared. I had to get transferred one *more* time to deal with transferring my many, many miles to my Continental account.

That’s that. A 35-year customer relationship with untold thousands of dollars of business gone. And no one in Amex could care. No one was empowered or motivated to talk me out of it, only to try to upsell me as I walked out the door.

When Amex calls me a “member” it’s a joke. Always has been. Membership means something. It means that I’m part of a group that cares about me and that I care about. That’s not American Express.

Members is how every business should be looking at the people formerly known as customers today. American Express makes a mockery of the word.

Buh-bye.

  • Hal Espen

    Okay, okay! I’ll get off your lawn!

  • http://donmcarthur.com Don McArthur

    Vengeance is mine, sayeth the blogger. Hey, I saw the original, too, but I often enjoy sequels. :-)

  • Carmister

    I’ve been thinking the same, though I ‘only’ have 30 years in.
    I only use it for travel, originally for the car insurance thing.
    Crap exchange rates plus the fee? No thanks. I’ll finish the year, but restrict it to us travel. Then it’s gone.

  • Jeff

    Prediction: this will be the Amex version of ‘Dell Hell’

    Wil it change anything? Probably not.

    • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

      No, I’ve moved on. I’ve seen the true stripes of their culture.

  • Rick

    They have become a disaster of sorts.
    Our Amex business card expires this month and my associate has been hounding me to call them but so far I had held off just because I wanted to see if they had their shit together and would come thru on their own.
    No such luck.

  • http://teachj.wordpress.com Robert Courtemanche

    Had a similar problem about 5-6 years ago with Bank of America. They didn’t seemed concerned until the day we showed up and asked for a cashier’s check for the balance of all of our accounts and then closed them. All of a sudden after weeks of maddening customer service, they were concerned. Too late, Treat me right or I’m gone. I am an especially loyal customer and it seems the only companies I’ve notice who care are Apple and Sprint.

  • Observer

    What do you expect? These companies pay poor college students $7 an hour. I wouldn’t care about you either. The managers who chose and manage the call centre, the IT people who manage the legacy disconnected systems and the many other middle management analysis jobs get paid 10 times more. The real people in the trenches are treated like dirt (maybe an odd party, or fun night out to give off the perception it’s a fun place to work) but at the end of the day, if customer service and retention are treated like dirt, you will be, too.

  • Al Pittampalli

    They probably don’t even know (or care) about this post, and the countless people who are reading it right now. Treating your customers well has always been the right thing to do, but it used to not really matter for business, so companies didn’t care. It’s still the right thing to do today, but now it’s critical to business, and companies like AmEx still living in the dark ages of customer service still don’t care! How foolish.

  • John W Baxter

    At lest out here (in the untamed west) Amex is the card that can be used at Costco. So I have it. No other reason.

    –John (who remembers “Bankamericard”)

  • http://thefuturebuzz.com Adam Singer

    The irony, of course is that AmEx spends a ton of money on their OpenForum site (http://www.openforum.com/). Yet when they deliver an experience like this it tears down almost all of their goodwill built. Inconsistent stories like these show you just how unready many large brands are to be “social.” This is not social behavior.

  • Eric

    Be careful with the automatic charges.

    Under some arcane set of rules you can not cancel an already approved automatic payment via the bank only the service you authorized to charge you can.

    I have had problems in the past with Discover when canceled a service and the Discover card the service kept billing me so they kept sending me a Discover bill.

    It took a lot of time, effort, and grief on my part to cancel both.

    • Christian

      The comment is correct.
      I am suffering that now when I am trying to stop AAA from withdrawing money from my bank account… Yes, cash.
      I have to beg AAA to stop taking my money even though I already cancelled the service.

  • http://www.kentonlarsen.com/ Kenton

    Tip: Visa and Mastercard suck too.

    • http://www.veganatthetable.com John Himmelberger

      Even more so

  • http://jonathonsciola.com Jonathon

    Surprisingly Australia is the most franchised nation in the world with the most franchises per capita for any country. We’re a small population 20million. That’s the size of Mozambique. A successful business in Australia is guaranteed to work in the US because you need 20-30% of any given market here to do well, in the States 1-2% and you’re a millionnaire or worse. The great thing about this post – and perhaps the hidden thing – is that AMEX is a franchise. A franchise is a systemised way of doing business. Don’t get caught up in the legal structure of the business; a franchise can be a variety of models, however the consistency is process-driven, leveraged, turn-key business systems. The worst part about a franchised nation is that we lose the art of customer service on a national level. People forget how to actually care for people. They rely on scripts and manuals and processes to solve problems. However I always say a person is better than a process. In the end a process is there because we haven’t found the right person. I think Jeff was looking for a person. He was wanting to be heard. To be seen. A franchise cannot see a customer in the way a bit of data cannot see the user. It only sees other bits of data and the big picture it sees is limited to the purpose or program it was intended to execute. I am believing for a return to true customer focus. That is why I love small businesses. Niche focused, purple-cow businesses that actually care about their consumer. I wish there was a twitter “tribal” card community we could join and actually share benefits amongst our members. It’s sure to come. Thoughts…

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  • Tony Mariani

    Sadly, this is the norm nowadays for a number of companies who don’t have customer services to empower their employees and loyalty is a thing of the past. They focus more on considerations for new customers than the lifetime value of customers who have paid the freight.

  • http://www.allesblog.de Michael Henke

    Do you care about credit history in any way?

    • Susan Smith

      Why would his credit history matter? he was a member for more than three decades. I’m sure his credit history won’t suffer as a result of this.

      • http://yeahthatskosher.com Dani

        Actually no. Credit has to do with the amount of credit you have available in your name. When you close an account that’s been open for a while, you’re now reducing the amount of credit available in your name, and thus it will reduce your credit score.

        Better to leave the card open (assuming you’re not paying a yearly fee) and not use it.

        • JC

          This does not apply to AmEx charge cards. Charge cards report no credit limit because, you have failed to realize, they don’t have credit limits. Hence it has no effect at all on your credit utilization.

  • http://www.veganatthetable.com John Himmelberger

    Besides Apple, where can you find good customer service anymore? Compensation structures are so top heavy in today’s environment that so called efficiencies have obliterated any remains of customer service.

  • https://plus.google.com/118434132692780290837/abou Alan Ralph

    Jeff, I went through a similar, if (thankfully) more truncated, version of this when I finally gave up and moved my money away from Barclays in 2003. I’d been with them since just before starting university – about 16 years. Not that they bothered much to help me out during that time – as far as they appeared to be concerned, I was just an account number, and my need to get cash out and my paychecks in were an inconvenience to them.

    After several instances where they managed to lose my paycheck, I finally decided it was time to go. I’d already found another bank – Smile, the online arm of the Cooperative Bank – that not only offered good rates, but also had good customer services. Transferring my balance over should have been fairly straightforward. (It has since been made easier, partly in reaction to cases like mine) But Barclays not only required clarification of my request *twice*, they managed to forget to move over half of my Direct Debit instructions properly. Luckily for me, I’d had the foresight to put my very next paycheck into the new Smile account, otherwise I would have been caught with no money to pay my bills. I phoned Barclays and read them the Riot Act (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riot_Act if you’re unfamiliar with that phrase), and eventually they completed the transfer.

    To this day, I grimace whenever I hear Barclays’s name uttered.

  • Susan Smith

    I completely agree. I was a member for many years and built up 250,000 miles. When it came time to use them, I found out those miles were next to useless. It’s a terrible marketing scam. The customer service has gotten progressively worse but hey, if Amex ignores their customers long enough, they will all go away!

  • tom

    you should have actually talked to them via twitter, their @AmericanExpress account reps are super responsive. Way more worthwhile than talking with an off-shored rep on the phone. Did you even try this? Why not?

    That twitter account can probably figure out and tell you why your continental airline miles are no longer accruing.

    Also, randomly, I travel internationally a lot, and its stupid that you need a certain type of card (the platinum? I’m not sure) to not get charged the international fees, in addition to the conversion rate. Which was why the rep tried to get you to convert.

    • Kim K

      it’s a sad day, when twitter responses get the “best” customer service- we are perpetuating the “squeaky wheel gets the oil” syndrome by making this the way we do business.
      My sister in law uses twitter regularly to claim cancellation and poor service and low and behold, she is made whole each and every time.

  • Rick

    Unless it takes 7 or more digits to display your balance, big financial institutions are not going to concern themselves with your needs. It’s literally not worth it to them.

  • WayneG

    The sad part of this is, I doubt if you’ll get better service somewhere else. I’ve had similar problems with other card services, and can only hope that your problem with AMEX is the exception, rather than the rule.

    If not, I’ll be doing the same.

    – Wayne
    Member since 1973

  • AP

    I had a similar experience with Washington Mutual in 2002. We all know what happened to them….

  • http://www.richullman.com Rich Ullman

    Jeff,
    Good story. Not sure if “sorry to hear it” is appropriate. :)
    I agree with you completely that most institutions treat people, not like people, but like statistics or line items. This leads to poor service and a significant handicap when it comes to today’s “social” media world.

    However… when I read your words, “Retain me,” I got the feeling that you were baiting them. Maybe yes, maybe no. That doesn’t matter, but it does lead me to ask: What could they have done — aside from sending you the new card — that would have retained you? (and made this a happy ending).

  • http://www.redwoodcu.org Tony Hildesheim

    two words.. Credit Union

    Join one today!… where you truely are a ‘member’ and you truely do have a say in how the organization responds to its members…

    There are no paid board of directors
    There is no incentive for the CEO, Board and Executive team to gouge their members (customers)
    You are the shareholder
    They are as sophisticated as any bank and they have every service a bank has
    They don’t charge you unreasonable fees and they are interested in serving you.. not their bottom line.

    Not only that.. their rates and rewards programs rival any out there..

    • cool papa

      Learn how to spell “truly,” as well as basic grammar. Other than that, I agree, credit unions are great.

      • Andrew Fletcher

        Cool Papa,

        I agree that Tony Hildesheim
        2 years ago

        misspelled “truely/truly”–but consistently, twice–although, as a professional editor, I did not spot any other “grammatical” concerns, except a fairly consistent absence of punctuation (common in on-line communication).

        I do wholeheartedly agree, though, with you and him that credit unions are very admirable and useful institutions.

    • tmac

      I can second that – after experiencing high fees with little service by a large national bank I decided to switch to a credit union about 13 years ago and never looked back. We have a branch around the corner (one can actually talk to a real person should the need arise), a sufficient number of (free) ATM’s in town (barely use cash anyway) and never experienced any problem with them.

  • Erica

    13 years ago I was a reasonably high level systems employee at a well-known credit card company. I was in a meeting with several senior level VPs who were debating the merits versus the costs of raising fees to our customers. Marketing didn’t want to increase fees; they were afraid they were going to lose customers. Finance said we “had” to increase fees or we wouldn’t make our numbers for the year. Finally, the ranking Finance guy slammed his hand down on the conference room table and screamed, “Goddammit! Don’t you people realize that the only way this bank makes any money is by driving our customers to the brink of bankruptcy?!?!” Tough words to hear 13 years ago, even worse when you take into account the mortgage mess this economy is still reeling from. The people who run Banks and Financial Services companies only care about themselves, not their clients, employees or even shareholders. This is why I avoid doing business with the large banks whenever possible.

  • Alan Tabor

    I’ve been slowly transfering my various accounts over to a local credit union. They all piss me off so it was a matter of deciding who I’d prefer to be irritated by. The credit unions heart seems to be in the right place, so they won.

  • http://www.kembry.com Kenny Embry, Ph.D.

    Good! Companies who have lousy customer service deserve to be abandoned. Hurray for capitalism!

  • Steve

    I’ve had to have my AmEx card replaced at least three times. They have always sent a new card via overnight mail. The first person I’ve talked to has always been able to arrange it so I am surprised to read of your experience.

  • http://www.customersatisfactionevaluation.com Anne Miner

    American Express used to deliver top drawer service – it was a pleasure to deal with them and we truly believed that “membership has its priveledges”. One of those priviledges is “no spending limit” – of oucrse you have to pay the full balance each month – Amex is a charge card NOT a credit card.

    Imagine my surprise when I received a call recently – supposedly, a customer care call. “We want to be sure you are aware of all the options available to you … we noticed that your spending increased last month …” “It did?” “Oh yes.” (The increase was less than $2K).

    And the caller proceeded to offer me the “options” of either providing 3 months bank statements or my company financial statements. What the heck?

    When I said, “I understood … no spending limit. This sounds to me like you are saying there actually is a spending limit.”

    The caller did not seem to grasp the issue – just kept making reference to ensuring I knew what my options were.

    NO thank you! I have been a “member” for 23 years! Our card usage has varied up and down by 10’s of thousands – what is going on?!

    And, now having heard about the loss of airline points and additional charges on foreign exchange, we will be very vigilant about our use of “the card”.

    I am not ready to cancel my card – there are times and places when only Amex will do (e.g., at Costco) BUT you can be sure that we will further limit our Amex purchases.

    As a customer satisfaction and retention specialist, I can tell you that Amex is well back in the pack of companies who only talk about caring for their customers.

    • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

      I switched to the Continental Mastercard. For those times when I need AmEx, I’ll hold onto the AmEx blue card, which is free; I’ll stop paying them fees.

    • Carmen Leung

      You can buy costco cash cards online with your mc or visa and then spend it in store

  • Katie

    Bank of America now has a competitor card – Business Preferred. Free if you have a checking acct and better rewards (I think you get 10,000 pts to start and then again on anniversary).

    • http://www.facebook.com/Yoyolate Rogelio Hernandez

      Chase has something similar and their rewards are very nice, or you can get cash.

  • Donald

    I have recently encountered a moment of truth with AMEX. I have been a member since 1981, and when my platinum card was recently compromised I was told I would have to wait 10-14 days for a replacement. Let me get this right, Platinum card holder, in buiness , on travel and no card. Thanks AMEX, you suck.

    What are membership fees for. When I called for support the accent of the person was so bad, i could not understand a word. Nice. Thanks again AMEX you suck.

  • Mr. lee

    Our company account was over by approx $700.00 and Amex declined an additional $418.00 charge for a lunch order I placed. (My Company has triple A credit and my personal credit is in excellent standing too) After speaking to two moron customer service reps: I gave them two options.. A. put the charge through or B. Close out my two personal accounts .Looks like we went with option B. What bunch of brain dead morons.

  • AMEXSUCKS

    AMEX SURE DOES SUCK… AS DO MOST CORP’S….THAT JUST WANT MONEY… PERIOD…I USED MY AMEX FOR LAST TIME….AT A STUPID UPS STORE IN OTTAWA CANADA… THEY SHIPPED…SWITCHED MY BOXES AND SENT THEM TO THE OPPSITE ENDS…. THEN THEY HAD THE NERVE TO TELL ME MY FAULT…I HAD TO GET PICTURES TO SHOW THEM… DAYS LATER…IT WAS DONE FINALLY…BUT WAY TO LATE…AS FOR AMEX…THEY SAID THEY WOULD TAKE OFF THE CHARGE…I TOLD THEN THE TRUTH… THEY TOOK OFF THE CHARGE, THEN PUT IT BACK… THEY PICKED THEIR MERCHANT BS OVER TRUTH… FINE… I AM TRYING NOW TO GET COSTCO TO DROP THEM…AMEX… I ONLY NEED THIS STUPID AMEX FOR COSTCO…
    F THEM ALL….

  • Steve

    As an Amex Centurion Cardholder, my experience is completely opposite from yours. The service I see is truly amazing and they are 110% committed on taking care of my needs.
    Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, but perhaps it’s just an exception to the balance of your years with them.

  • William

    In Belgium Amex is the best card available,platinum holder since several years,hundreds
    of transactions,never had any issue,staff pick up the phone 24/7,well trained and friendly.
    Surprised to read all this,i guess it all depends who owns the franchise in the country you reside.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Yoyolate Rogelio Hernandez

      AMEX does not have franchises or leases. They do have different teams and managers around the world. You must have the lucky customer service team. But for Spanish, Portuguese or English customers, our calls got routed to Mexico, India and Canada and the service blows.

  • robokopp

    After being a member for 36 years I am also going through the same poor customer service and lack of caring by people on the phone. As I went on a business trip overseas my account went “under review” and suspended pending receipt of information. If the information is not sent within 5 days then the cards (Platinum & Blue) will be permanently cancelled. All this without having missed a payment over all these years, and even prepay by sending in funds to cover upcoming charges. I ended up begging business partners for cash to cover my hotel bills as I left home without my Visa and MasterCards.Citibank was at least helpful in sending me a MasterCard within 2 days so I can get back to “normal”. Only venting but will await the decision of AX on my accounts. Even if they lift the suspension I will cancel anyway.

  • cws, cpa

    I’ve only been a member for 12 years. But I gave a $30,000 charitable contribution and, within one day, DECREASED my credit limit. Apparently they don’t like charities. Then I carried the balance for a while because they pissed me off (well, I really showed them since they hosed me on interest). I still carry a balance because of the princple of it. They will eventually decrease my credit limit to zero as I pay it down. That’s ok, because in a separate move, they issued my wife a new credit card with a high limit. Hello??

  • http://www.facebook.com/Yoyolate Rogelio Hernandez

    Is crap. Stay away from them.

    They double charged my monthly payment. I called before the payments went through ( I knew they were coming because of the emails I received) to advice that they were about to overdraw my account. Someone in that call told me not to worry and that they would back charge the overdraft fee to my bank. Gave me his name and a “special phone.”

    I call the “special phone” and the dude that answer sounded condescending and smart ass with an attitude. He said that they do not refund when it is my mistake. I explained the problem which is that their system charged again when I had already paid.

    He almost said, not my problem. I referenced him to the previous call two days ago, he said they dont do that.

    I said, then why does AMEX lie to its costumers?

    He said, I didn’t say Mark (the other guy) was lying, I just said we don’t do that.

    So I say, well, if he said AMEX would do something that you are not able or willing to do, then someone lied. Either he lied or you are lying but someone lied to me.

    Again he denied it.

    I just said, OK fine, let me check what crap I can buy with my Membership rewards and I’ll call back to cancel this stupid card.

    Called back, the card is now cancelled.

    I’ll stick to my Visa, Master Card and Discovery. Discovery has a SUPERB service. As good as AMEX Gold Card used to be without costing an arm and a leg.

    AMEX is doing very bad business, or they dont care for their membership clients any more. This days you can get an AMEX card with as little as a deposit in Walmart… no seriously. And the Walmart prepaid card has the same “benefits” as the AMEX green.

    So… Why would one pay a membership fee to only get lied to and treated like a child?

    Beats me.

    Sayonara AMEX, never going to see you again in my wallet.

    • SickofAmex

      Same here!! They dont have a limit on card, but once you unitlize the abilities and pay it off several time they get pissed No thank you Im done. I have to use them till after november because I have a huge Autism Event Planned but then Im done!

  • anon

    Jeff, I came to your page after I googled “american express sucks”. After tonight’s experience with their CSR. I will cancel my card to go back to VISA. Your experience with the CSRs echoed mine

    I bought some concert ticket from an AMEX affiliated website. Unknown to me, the website tricked me into thinking the entire concert was sold out because I clicked on the Amex link to see what special offers are. Apparently, they saved a cookies on my browser so I tried to purchase the ticket, I was told only 6 left. I bought the tickets with crappy seating position because I thought they were sold out. Immediately after purchase, I felt suspicious and used another computer to look at the same concert. It turned out there are hundreds of tickets available. I was tricked into purchasing the tickets with poor seating thinking it was sold out!

    I then called AMEX. First, they said they are not affiliated with the website. Then I told them it has an AMEX lounge and a link taking to the AMEX sign up page, the CSR basically said we are not responsible for any of our partner’s actions. She even said “For example, even though we are partner with Costco, we don’t care if they provide bad service because we are not related.” I told her that your partner reflects upon your reputation. She simply said “I don’t agree with you. Our partner has nothing to do with us.” What CSR disagree with their customer blatantly?

    I continue to mention that it does not matter what the fact is or whether AMEX is truly responsible. What mattered was my perception of AMEX has been tainted. I will not have experienced this if I didn’t click the AMEX link or used my AMEX card. What matters now is how I will stop using my AMEX card and tell others not to use it.

    Guess what the CSR said? “I don’t agree with you. Amex is not responsible.” Woah! Similar to Jeff’s experience, I guess AMEX really don’t give a crap about people stop using their cards! I don’t see any advantages of AMEX over VISA. In fact, it is not accepted in many locations including IKEA. The only used I used mine because the logo looked cool. After this experience, I’m shredding my card and closing this account.

    Extremely unhappy ex-AMEX customer
    Canada

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kelleen-Farrell/1298727835 Kelleen Farrell

    This company should be forced out of business. They, like so many companies, preyed on my college daughter and gave her a card which she promptly ran up and then had troubles paying. The other companies (Chase and Old Navy) worked with her; AmEx refused. So I have been making regular payments on the account for her while she finishes college. Not good enough for AmEX- they sued my daughter. After contacting CEO Kenneth Chenault, they called and said if I made regular payments, they would withdraw the suit (remember I have been doing that all along). The rub is that they have put us through hell for over a year now, only to agree to a payment schedule I was already doing. Now, however, they cannot get the balance straight, one amount one day, a different amount the next. I cancelled my personal card when we first had trouble over this. Now, I want to see the company go bankrupt and shut down.These people are despicable.

    • D’Artagnan

      I do not like them, but how can you blame them for your daughter being an idiot? Would you also hate Ford if your daughter was driving one when she got in an accident?

    • MitkoPitko

      Kelleen,

      You should teach your daughter PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY and respect for the money. Is she still living at home and spending your money?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kelleen-Farrell/1298727835 Kelleen Farrell

    Forgot to mention, Rosemary Rudd at AmEx said they had withdrawn the suit and not to show up in court. Turns out they DID NOT do that and we needed to be in court. I assume they lie so they can win by default.

  • IntegrityIsEverthing

    Internally I have never worked for a company that rewards failure in management more than American Express. They company is a social club of ineffective leadership. It’s infected a whole slurry of other companies. My moto is when Amex managers come knocking on your door for a job, be highly skeptical of their resumes. It’s a cult of lies and deciet.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.chmela Dave Chmela

    My mom has had her Amex card for 45 years… she currently just owed $1,300, and paid $600 of that yesterday. Shes 84 and is disabled. I went to buy gas today and the pump denied me, we called Amex, to find that the day AFTER they accepted her $600 payment, THAY CANCELLED HER CARD… not suspended, I said CANCELLED. sShe was in tears on the phone, they didnt CARE!

    • MitkoPitko

      Dave,

      You should be ashamed of using your mothers credit card. And you should have paid her bill to begin with!!

      • HNW

        I know this is old, but you sound like a nut. His mother is 84 years old. She could’ve been in the car WITH him and handed him her card to get the gas. He could be her designated driver to get he to and from places and uses the AMEX card to fill up the tank. You don’t know their situation and you sound utterly ridiculous in your attempt to scold or shame him in your post. And to imply that he should have paid her bill is equally ridiculous! She paid half of her balance. Maybe she was going to pay the other half in the weeks ahead. You ASSume too much.

  • bob mchenry

    Amex is the worst company to work for period. Not only is racism and age discrimination accepted by their call center leadership team, it is encouraged. Amex outsources a majority now of its force to India and gives them fake English names. The survey system for employees is rigged and employees are constantly terminated as a result of its inefficiency.

  • John Hobson

    Some years ago, I lost my job and quickly fell behind n my credit card payments. I called all my credit card companies, and had no difficulty arranging deals to pay off what I owed them. Except for American Express. I thought I had a deal with them, and then, the next month, I would get a bill demanding payment in full. I would call Amex, and whoever I spoke to had no record of my deal with them to pay it off over time. This happened for six months, until I got a new job.
    I did not bother getting another American Express card

  • jennd

    In early 2009, we went to Florida for a week long conference and stayed at the Marriott where it was held, not cheap. We also brought our child along and went to Disney. All told, a $3k trip. When we got back, I tried to use the sign and travel feature I had used from time to time in the past, but American Express pulled the privilege on us and other card holders without warning due to the 2008 crash. Prior to that we had always paid as agreed and didn’t even have charges on the account during the previous few statements. I was so angry with them, it actually caused my normally low blood pressure to spike, which landed me in the e.r. with a sizeable hospital bill to pay. I cancelled my card, but husband wanted to keep his, but we rarely use it. Later, we got all kinds of offers and calls for their various products and cards. Every time they called, I would express my disgust and tell them, why would I want to do business with them when I have a dozen other cards I can use. We were mistreated and we had done nothing wrong.

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  • Professor Joe

    Amex was a favorite of mine for years. I was a die-hard green cardholder until a $50 charge mysteriously appeared on my bill. After being with them for over 35 years, and running thousands of dollars per month of charges through the card(s) and never, ever, paying late, the thanks I received was being treated like a criminal. First, I disputed the charge. Amex then sends a letter saying the dispute was investigated and resolved. “Resolved” meant that I was being forced to pay the charge, but I only found that out after calling and speaking with an Amex rep. After asking for a supervisor, and politely insisting the charge be removed, the supervisor politely told me that was not going to happen, since Amex had an unsigned receipt associated with a computer purchase that authorized an antivirus software purchase (which showed up a year after the computer purchase). So, I told the supervisor to cancel my card. She transferred me to another rep who was gladly going to remove the charge, and even give me an extra credit of $100 for all the trouble. That infuriated me. I told the rep that my loyalty to Amex could not be bought with $100, and to just remove the $50 charge and cancel the card. Now, my wife has the Amex Costco card and makes me carry one for convenience. We only use our cards at Costco, because they are so good at returning merchandise. However, if Costco would ever accept another card, Amex would be out of my wallet.

  • Nopars

    So I’m not alone! “Member Since 79” was on my card before it was canceled several years ago along with the remaining 200,000+ reward points. Over the years I was a green, gold and platinum card holder that used their travel services for my frequent business trips and meetings. As an active user of the card I had accumulated enough points to spend 3 weeks with my family in New Zeeland (flying business class), transferred points to my parents for their trips to Europe and Bermuda and even got my golf clubs suing reward points.

    My problems started when they would not use the points to pay toward an outstanding bill of $1,350 even though they advertised it and I had friends that had done it. So they
    canceled my card and turned me over to an Indian collection agency (who told me
    if I paid I could apply for an Optima card from AE). I paid the bill (refused to apply for the Optima card) and now years later I still periodically send letters and request to get at least use of my points. All their correspondence say the same thing – reward points are lost when the card is canceled. I keep asking though why couldn’t I use the points as they advertised before the card was canceled?

    I now wonder if I should sue in small claims court.

  • Scott

    Two things. First, a couple years ago (after 10 years of being a good customer) they cut my credit limit without notice or explanation. I have great credit and have never missed a payment. I went from carrying about 20% of my limit to 80%. Way to try to sabotage my credit AmEx!
    Second, tried to use my travel insurance ONCE. Rip-off! I was told I needed to send them my lost baggage claim “ticket”. I told the AmEx claim rep I didn’t have a “ticket” only a number that the airline rep wrote on my ticket folder. When I told the AmEx claim investigator to simply call the airline’s baggage claim office and verify the claim number, her exact words were “I don’t have time for that”. She’s a claim investigator! Isn’t that your job… to investigate!
    Needless to say, I’ve taken my business elsewhere. I will never deal with AmEx again.

  • MitkoPitko

    Jeff,

    I’ve been an Amex card member for 27 years and have always been very happy with their service, membership benefits and value.
    During that period, my wife has had her card stolen and fraudulently used and as soon as we called Amex they sent a replacement card and took care of the fraudulent charges.
    My card was lost twice and and I’ve never had a problem getting replacement on the next day.
    I used to travel abroad a lot and the Amex card gives extra benefits with airlines, hotel upgrades and currency exchanges.
    And I’ve booked vacations with the Amex Travel agency and have had always great experience. As a matter of fact, just last week we booked a 10 day vacation to Mexico for 2 families and the Amex agent gave us the best deal available, compared with several on-line booking sites.
    So, in my opinion you’ve had a bad experience which is not the norm for the Amex team.
    Usually, only about 5% of customers provide comments and/or feedback, and most of those are mostly people who have had an unpleasant experience with a service provider.
    Oh, and I don’t work for American Express…

  • Denise

    I too had a long standing relationship with AmEx (15+ years) – it was the only card I carried in fact. I used my card for business expenses and personal. I was very surprised when I received a letter notifiying me that my account had been canceled. The letter said to call if I had any questions, which I did because I had many questions about why I was unceremoniously “fired”. I told the rep that my credit history was clean and I made my payments on time so I was confused. She confirmed that my account seemed to be in good standing from what she saw on her screen and was very polite but ultimatley she said I’m sorry I can’t answer your question – but I can transfer you, she offered. So I was transfered to another agent who echoed the first one and then transfered again to a “manager”. The manager acted as if she had not time for me so after about 30 mintues on the phone I gave up. No one had a clear answer in the the case of the manager, she seemed iritated that I was questioning her. I pulled my credit history looking for answers but everything was in order. No one at AmEx ever called me back, or as you say “gave a shit” so I don’t either. Sorry AmEx but even if you sent me a new card, I would fire you.

  • Leslie

    Jeff,

    Thank you for helping the world recognize that American Express does not deserve any JD Powers awards, or any other recognition for quality performance.

    This was a letter that I wrote to American Express in 2010. I have also stopped using my card.
    Leslie

    April, 2010:

    This is a cautionary tale for vacationers who believe that they can rely on their credit card with American Express for their trip. Don’t count on it. Even if it is significant, your remaining balance amount and credit limit are just magic figures that disappear with lights, mirrors, and a little paranoia.

    I am a hard working single woman with a steady job who has never defaulted on a loan. I always pay on time, and often more than the minimum. However, American Express, who once wooed me with extraordinarily high limits and excellent interest rates, now considers me to be a piranha. The following is an
    example of this bias in action.

    As of March 28, the balance remaining on my American Express card was over
    $6,000. With that in mind, I planned to use a portion of the balance on a rental car and hotel accommodations for a trip to Kauai from March 28 to April 3.

    Previously, there were several months when I did not use my American Express card in order to reduce my balance in the face of the company imposing higher interest rates. Because of this lapse of time, I made sure to contact representatives from American Express twice in the weeks and days leading up to my March 28 trip. In this
    way, I wanted to make sure that there would be no problem with any
    transactions.

    The first representative that I contacted typed a notation in my account stating that I would be on the trip during that timeframe, so that there would not be a question of identity theft. The second representative did a “test charge” to make sure that there would be no problem processing the expenses.

    I am sure that you can understand my surprise and embarrassment when I arrived at the Lihue Hertz counter on the evening of March 28 to be told that my American
    Express card was denied for the car rental. That night, in front of God, the Hertz
    staff, and a group of tourists, I had to recite my credit card and security numbers through my cell phone to get the authorization that encompassed only $500 of the $6000+ that I had remaining on my card.

    Even though the transaction finally went through at the car company, and later with
    the hotel, I soon began to have a bad feeling about this turn of events. I decided to again call American Express the day before the end of my trip.

    It was then that I learned that American Express had reduced my credit card limit on the day after I began my trip. Angie from “Responsible Lending” said that I was sent a letter and email to my home on March 29. This did me little good, since I was in
    Hawaii at the time. To add insult to injury, when I asked to speak to a manager, Angie said that none was available. You’ve heard of the proverbial last straw; that was it.

    On behalf of all common people like me that have suffered a similar embarrassment by American Express, I would like to point out that it is amazingly short-sighted for a credit card company to penalize people out of fear that they might default on a loan. A novel and brave idea might be to trust in people doing well by you. It’s called having faith in your fellow man. Such may have been the logic that prompted the taxpayers and government to extend a collective hand to the financial institutions last year.

    The moral of this cautionary tale is this: don’t use an American Express credit card, even if you have a healthy balance remaining on the card. Instead, take lots of traveler’s checks (not created by American Express). Also use a VISA for renting your car, so that you don’t have to walk to your hotel. Bottom line: if you are no longer considered the golden child by American Express, but rather the distant poor relation, you should definitely leave home without them.

  • Mike Dye

    And I thought it was just me Amex had taken a disliking to!
    I was a member since 1978 and a platinum cardholder for 10 years charging 10-20K a month for my personal & business and paying the balance in full and on time. Had a rather large purchase for business for 50K and checked prior to charging and was told that it was no problem -like the commercial says “no credit limits” based on your payment history. Long story short-they put my card on credit hold and requested 3 months of bank statements for review and even after I paid statement in full and 10 days earlier before due date-then when checked to see what status, was told I could start using card again and when I did (taking clients to dinner) the card was declined-called and got shuffled around and got no explanation for this -but did inform me that my credit limit was now 5000.00 Thanks sooooo much Amex!!!

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  • Searayboater

    I was also a loyal Amex for years paying at least the minimum if not more then when I paid off 95% of the card balance they cancelled my account. At that point I called them and told them to go “F” themselves. That was about 5 years ago, now I keep getting letters from them saying they want me back. Amex could be the only card out there and they could give me $ 500 or more. I would NEVER get their card again.

  • SickofAmex

    Loved my american Express until they started Getting Ticked off I paid my bill on Time, *Yes on time!* We are doing a charity event for autism and the spending is higher then normal, I called to warn them and they gave me some bull Crap about “How Im increasing my spending availability” Then they proceeded to do a Financial Review at *which would of been fine if they hadnt diabled the card to do it* We had never been late, Paid our bill before it was due I just didn’t understand, they said “your spending patters are different” Well DUH! I did call and warn them, so they said once I paid off my high balance it would be back to business as usual, So I did, and they are still giving me grief and Put a limit on the card,Remember I had never been late, I pay it all the time because all we use is Amex.. Not anymore Im sick of being bullied

    Wieberg

  • Jackie laowakul

    Amex also was my favorite credit card up until this Christmas’eve morning. while i was enjoying cooking my christmas meal for my family i got a call from an Amex rep telling me that they need me to authorize them to review my tax info. i was like “what???”.
    here is the problem, on the december 21st, my husband decided he wanted to buy a rolex at tourneau nyc for 17k. initially we wanted to pay by Citicard (debit) but we couldnt get a hold of citi rep (it’s a large amount and citi need us to authorize the charge over the phone) and we have a million things to do that day so we decided to use Amex. now, we never used Amex for over 10k charge so we talked to Amex rep and she said she needed us to prepaid them by citibank…in the same time tourneau got citi on the same line for us so we asked citi to wire the money to Amex. we didnt think fast enough to just have citi taking care of it instead. Amex got the money so the charge went thru ok. 3 days later (today) amex rep asked me and my husband (a lawyer in wall street) to authorize them to see our tax return and tax info. to see if we have the ability to pay that kind of charge we made on the 21st…that was the 1st biggest insult to us. we prepaid that 17k to Amex on that same day. citi rep was on the line to assisted us to make sure Amex got the 17k at that time. and they did. we don’t see why they need us to provide the support documents to see if we could spend 17k or that kind of charge….again that was paid off even before the card swiped.
    here comes another insult… she told us that our Amex premier gold card are placed on hold, starting today on Christmas ‘eve until we fax them the authorization paper to look thru our tax info and they have to process and look thru to see if they will want us as customers after that basically. oh and they dont know how long that will take. if we dont provide them whatever they need our cards will be canceled in 14 days.
    i called them back to cancel both of our cards. we recently just founded our LLC to do consulting business as well and thought about having anothe Amex as the company credit card…silly me. i will never recommend anyone to use Amex ever. I have had problems with them over the years but nothing insulted me this much.

  • Joshua Glowzinski

    I have or had an AMEX card. The interest was like 7.9. The thing for me is it stopped working. haha They say they have nothing with my name on it. Someone told me they had problems with people stealing the points that people had gotten and that I would be getting a new card.

    They called me once and asked if I wanted to pay so much a month for protection. After a bit they realized that no, I did not. haha

    I had a chase, JCPenny, best buy and sears card. Chase never got my payments that I did on the internet, so I canceled that one. I did not renew best buy because that store is nothing like it used to be. JCPenny is I believe up to 30% interest. So I said goodbye to that. Sears just sucks. haha

    I like American express though. Low interest and you get points for spending money. If I would ever have a problem, I would just call them. If they took money and would not give it back I would tall my bank and bbb. Most problems can be solved.

  • Drew

    American Express truly sucks. I applied for the Delta Sky Miles Card. 30000 bonus points. After spending the required amount to receive the bonus. I get 10000 points. I called and they said I filled out the wrong application. I told them I know what I filled out. They claim they got the application and that I filled out the 10000 miles one. I came to terms and just said ok It’s a computer error. No problem. Then I get the Blue Cash preferred card. I get 6 percent back on groceries. The first two months I get the 6 percent. No problem at wholefood. The third month I see I’m only getting 1 percent. I call again and they say it’s a whole foods problem. I ask how so they tell me they have to update there system and that I should contact them. Are you kidding me, contact whole foods to ask why American Express didn’t give me my points. This card is absolutely useless. I never seen a company as bad as American Express. One time computer error two times different card. American Express is a Scam. Stay clear. They bait and switch or stop adding points hoping you won’t catch it.

    • Random

      whole foods changed their merchant code. amex is right it’s something to do with whole foods

  • AJ

    Hey i just saw this and i have to agree. Ive been with AMEX for 10 years. Loyal to only AMEX and promoting them at every opportunity i get. (Yes im a centurion) Well i should say I WAS a centurion member. Their top tier, their elite, there 1 in 100,000 whatever you want to say to make yourself feel special……They threw away my business with them overnight.

    All because i was unable to pay by the deadline…The first time in 10 YEARS I MIGHT ADD. They are nothing but a bunch of dogs. I Paid the ballance in full just over the deadline all the while i was keeping them updated with my personal issues that didnt allow me to pay. Then the icing on the cake is “Were NOT reinstating your account with us due to “POOR PAYMENT HISTORY” LOLOLOL POOR payment history? seriosly…if you look at the last 3 months then yes..I agree…LOOK AT THE LAST 10 YEARS.
    What kind of customer service is that? They put you stage and give you the world and then if they dont like it they take you down….has anyone had any similar expreiences? Contact me. I don’t care if your card is green, black, blue, green or any colour they so choose to ANY level of membership should not be treated like rubbish.

    I mean i understand people need to have standards and deadlines but surely Throwing away loyal customers like rubbish.

    yakwireless@optusnet.com.au

  • Nate

    I was a Amex customer for 7 years and never missed a payment. I went through a divorce and was in a difficult financial situation. I tried to work with them on a payment plan. They refused to guarantee that they wouldn’t cancel my card. When you sign up for the payment plan you can’t use your points. I figure they thought that they wouldn’t have to pay me my cash back or points if I went on the payment plan. I did end up going on the payment plan, but they still cancelled my cards. I paid for the card for years and never missed a payment. Surely they could do something better than cancel the cards. The payment plan is a good thing, but I am almost certain that they always cancel the card after you go on a payment plan. AMEX HEAR THIS! I WILL NEVER, EVER, USE YOUR CARDS OR RELATED SERVICES AGAIN! So, I get the last laugh bastards!

  • Dan A

    Old blog but Amex is still the same bad company with the same bad customer service. I was a customer for many years with a clear card. Two years ago I stopped using the card because I work a lot overseas. Now 10 days ago I was offered a platinum card via email and I called to signed up due to the no foreign transaction fees and because they have an agreement with Emirates to transfer points to miles.
    I called Amex and talked to an eager but useless woman. Since I work overseas I asked (many times over) if they can send the card to an overseas address. She told me no problem. I told her it is time critical because I will not be at the same place for a long time…”No problem sir…”. The card did not arrive. I called again 5 days later and I was told the card was approved and sent to my US address. Really? Did the woman listen? The representative (another woman who had just zero authority) transferred me after my request to the platinum service team. I talked with Ricky and he apologized a lot but he told me due to fraud protection he can only send a replacement card after 10 days. I told him I will probably be gone by the time the card arrives but he can try. I called again after 8 days just to find out that they “forgot” to send the replacement card. Great job Amex! What kind of education is required to work for Amex? Anyways I explain the situation again and I was told the card will be send out the same day. Again a lot of apologies. This was yesterday…Today I wake up and see an email with a fraud/identity alert. I call Amex again just to find out that I have to fill out a paper and bring to my bank to get it legalized. Excuse me Amex are you stupid? I just told them I am overseas. Do you really believe a US Bank has a branch next door. I explained this to the representative but he was just not getting it. He sounded like an owl: I email you the form for your bank….He was threatening me that Amex will close my account with the platinum card. Funny since I have never received a card and the account is not open…good luck closing an account that does not exist!
    Here is the good news: Because the account is not open I will not activate a card even if they will send it out and I will cancel the clear card. Does Amex care? Of course not but I don’t care either. I hope many people will read this and take their business somewhere else.

  • Theresa

    I have a credit on my account and all I want to do is get the balance. I had to answer 3 security questions from the first person, 3 more with the second person and then I had to remember addresses and cities I lived in up to 15 years later. All because I want to get my money back from the credit that I over paid. I have to send them my bank account information of when I over paid it to boot. I find this very disturbing that I have to send such personal information over to people to whom I do not know that work there in order to get money back after cancelling the card.
    The worst credit card to own and they charge you for all of this hassle as well. Not quite sure how they think they are a good credit card. Guess the government didn’t think so either as they just bailed on their contract with them too. That’s gotta say something..

  • Stacy

    I have been a member of Amex since 2001. I travel a lot for work. Racking up pretty high bills and it takes my company 3 weeks to get me my money back sometimes. Up until 2008, this card was fantastic for travel. Amazing customer service. As long as you sent regular large payments, you could carry a balance. Also when you called, you got to talk to an actual American not someone in a call center in India with an American name ( I doubt your name is Nick or Sara when said in a thick Hindu accent that is very hard to understand)

    This is not the case now. I have been bullied. I have been charged exorbitant late fees and forced to set up payment plans with them as every month, I have been considered late even after calling and saying I will be a bit late because I am waiting on expenses to be reimbursed please work with me. They have always gotten their money. This is not the case now. Payment in full on the 8th or they shut the card off. Rediculous. They have even gotten to the point if calling prior to the 8th and demanding payment in full. Once this months balance is paid off, I will be leaving them behind as they are crooks with terrible customer service who do not care about your payment history or the fact that you spend 50,000 plus with them per year.

  • Cheryl

    Agreed, American Express does not give a shit!

    My family recently booked a flight to Boston using our American Express miles. An emergency arose two weeks before our flight causing us to change our departure date. We called the 1-800 number on our confirmation email and agreed to the change fees for 3 tickets of $1271.00. We were told we would receive a new flight itinerary in 3-5 minutes, we said our good byes and parted ways. 24hrs later no itinerary ever came. I called the 1-800 number again and spent the entire Saturday trying to sort this issue out. The flight was never booked do to errors on AmEx’s part. They never communicated this error to us and they charged our AmEx card $1790.00 — anyway! AmEx then stated the new ticket fee would be even higher. By the end of the day, tired of arguing and their not accepting any responsibility on their part for errors we got stuck with a $1900.00 change fee.

    After 12 years as a card holder we too will be cutting up our card! As a side note, most European businesses refuse to accept AmEx cards. This caused serious problems for us when we were overseas with our young children.

    Something is seriously wrong with American Express.

  • joe

    Amex just found a reason to STEAL 150,000 points from my account. I opened an investigation on 10/10/2014 which was closed today the 23rd. I call and I get an indian who cant do anything. I emailed and I get canned responses. 450 a year for this bullshit? No thank you.