Internal AmEx Doc On $300 Bribe To Zero Account And Leave Program

Here’s an internal AmEx doc with what customer service reps should say when people call up asking about the $300 to pay off and close your account program, or, as they term it, the “Balance Down Initiative.” The sheet was obtained exclusively by creditcarforum.com. My favorite part is the answer for if people who weren’t chosen to participate ask if they can join. The correct response is, “We apologize, but we can only honor this offer for selected cardmembers. However, if you’re interested in paying down your balance, I can help you with that.” Full doc inside…

Balance Down Initiative
DETAILS: On February 13, 2009, American Express began 3 promotion to entice Cardmembers to reduce their outstanding revolving balance on CCSG Lending products by offering them Pre-Paid Cards or Statement Credits.

Handling Procedures: If you receive a call from a customer concerning the Balance Pay Down initiative, please refer to the Q&As below:

Prepaid card test FAQs
Q: Why was I selected for this offer?
A: We’d like to offer you the opportunity to simplify your finances and pay off your existing balance.
Q: My neighbor/friend received this offer but I did not. Can I enroll?
A: We apologize, but we can only honor this offer for selected cardmembers. However, if you’re interested in paying down your balance, I can help you with that.
Q: Can you help me enroll in the offer?
A: You can enroll in the offer by visiting americanexpress.com/prepaidcardoffer and using the unique RSVP code provided to you on your mail piece. If you would prefer to enroll by phone, please call 800-794-1308 and use the code: 138580001. Please note that your account will automatically be cancelled when you enroll in this offer. You will need your account number to enroll in the offer.
Q: I don’t have access to the Internet; how can I enroll?
A: If you would prefer to enroll by phone, please call 800-794-1308 and use the code: 138580001. Please note that your account will automatically be cancelled when you enroll in this offer. You will need your account number to enroll in the offer.
Q: I lost my mail piece that has my unique RSVP code; can I still enroll?
A: Yes, you can call 800-794-1308 and use the code: 138580001. Please note that your account will automatically be cancelled when you enroll in this offer. You will need your account number to enroll in the offer.
Q: I missed the enrollment period but am still interested in taking advantage of this offer?
A: We apologize, but we can only honor this offer for cardmembers who enrolled during the stated enrollment period. However, if you’re interested in paying down your balance, I can connect you with a Customer Care Professional who can assist you with that.
Q: I would like to pay off my balance, but keep my account open. Can I do that?
A: By enrolling in this offer, your account will automatically be cancelled. If you do not enroll, but pay off your balance by April 30, 2009, your account will remain open but you will not qualify for the Prepaid card offer.
Q: I enrolled in the offer, but I can’t pay my balance in full. What happens?
A: As communicated in the enrollment letter, your account will be cancelled. You must continue to make at least your minimum payments until your balance is paid off. However, you will not receive the prepaid card.
Q: My payment is due prior to March 1, 2009. Should I wait until then to pay so it qualifies for the Prepaid card (officially called Encompass Card)?
A: To avoid any late fees, you must pay at least your minimum payment by the due date. As long as you make another payment for the remainder of your account balance between March 1, 2009 and April 30, 2009, your account will qualify for the Prepaid card (officially called Encompass Card).
Q: Where can I use the Prepaid card (officially called Encompass Card)?
A: Your card can be used at select merchants that welcome American Express® Cards. The Card cannot be redeemed for cash and is not transferable. Card terms and conditions, usage restrictions and guidelines apply; please see your card carrier for details.
Q: How long will it take for the Prepaid card (officially called Encompass Card) to arrive?
A: Your Prepaid card (officially called Encompass Card) will arrive 4 weeks after the end of the promotional period (April 30, 2009).
Q: I enrolled in the offer and paid off my balance, but didn’t receive a Prepaid card (officially called Encompass Card)?
A: I apologize for the inconvenience. Please give me a moment to review your account and confirm if the payments have been reflected on your account.

If Cardmember has not received there offer connect to a TSC CCP to complete the request

Q: I submitted a payment prior to April 30, 2009, but I see it did not post to my account until after the end of the offer period. Will I still receive the Prepaid card (officially called Encompass Card)?
A: All payments must be reflected on your account by April 30, 2009 to qualify for the Prepaid card (officially called Encompass Card) offer. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Q: Is my account considered closed at my own request, or at American Express’s?
A: Your account will not be reported in a negative manner to the credit bureaus, however it will be reported as “closed at consumer request.”
Q: How will the account closing be reported to the credit bureaus?
A:Your account will not be reported in a negative manner to the credit bureaus, however it will be reported as “closed at consumer request.”.
Q: Will I receive a confirmation of the account cancellation?
A: Your statement will reflect the account cancellation in the month following the account cancellation. Please note that depending on your account billing date, it is possible that you may not see the cancellation on your statement for up to two months.

CCPs: If the Cardmember asks for a confirmation letter connect the Cardmember to TSC.

Q: How long will it take for my account to be cancelled?
A: It may take up to 2 weeks for your account to be cancelled after enrolling in the offer.
Q: I enrolled in the offer, but my account still looks active. Why?
A: It may take up to 2 weeks for your account to be cancelled after enrolling in the offer.
Q: How long is my prepaid card valid for?
A: The prepaid card will expire May 31, 2010; unused points will be forfeited the first day after the valid thru date, subject to applicable law. For additional information about your prepaid card, please see the full terms and conditions enclosed in your card carrier.
Q: What do you mean by a $300 value prepaid card? How is the card denominated?
A: The Card is point based with 1 point = $1 in purchasing power. Terms and conditions apply. Please see your card carrier for details.
Q: I enrolled in this offer, but would like to reinstate my account? Can you assist?
A: Let me direct you to the appropriate person who can assist you submitting that request. (CCP: Connect the Cardmember with an existing Customer Service CCP)
Q: I am a Blue from American Express® Cardmember or Optima® Cardmember. What happens to my Membership Rewards Express® points now that my account is cancelled?
A: Any points accrued in your Membership Rewards Express® program will be forfeited upon account cancellation. See Membership Rewards Express® program details for full terms and conditions.
Q: I am a Blue Cash from American Express® Cardmember. What happens to my rebate now that my account is cancelled?
A: You will forfeit your entire Rebate for the Rebate Year if your account is cancelled before the Rebate posts to your account. See your Cardmember Agreement for full details.
Q: I received the offer for the prepaid card, but I would like a statement credit instead?
A: We apologize, but your account qualifies for a $300 value prepaid card, and we cannot offer you any other incentives at this time.
Q: I took advantage of the offer you sent me, but received a letter saying that my account was cancelled by American Express/for a credit reason. Why?
A: Let me direct you to the appropriate person to discuss this with you. (CCP: Dial-transfer CM to RLA team).
Q: If my account was cancelled prior to enrolling in this offer, can I still enroll?
A: We apologize, but you are not eligible to receive the $300 value prepaid card if your account was cancelled by American Express prior to enrolling in this offer.
Q: I enrolled in the offer, but subsequently received notification that my account was cancelled by American Express for credit reasons. Am I still eligible for the prepaid card if I pay down my balance?
A: Yes, as long as your balance is paid down, you will be eligible to receive the $300 value prepaid card.
Q: What does the footnote regarding taxable income mean?
A: Any income provided by American Express may be considered taxable income to you. Please check with your personal tax advisor with any questions regarding tax implications.

PREVIOUSLY: AmEx Pays Some $300 To Zero Their Balance And Leave

[via creditcardforum.com]

Comments

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  1. Patrick Henry says:

    People are such scum. The company for offering money to dump the people it was stupid enough to loan to, and the people who buy, buy, BUY!!!

    • wagnerism says:

      @Patrick Henry:
      Wow. I guess amex can do no good, huh?

      When they cancel cards or lower credit lines, people are howling for blood.

      Now they’re offering $300 to have a cardholder transfer/pay off a balance. The customer has to direct them to do this. Now they’re scum.

      Please visit every single cardholder that got the offer and show each of them your way to be debt-free/not scum. There are a lot of people out there and each of them have a different story about how they became scum. With that judgemental blanket statement, you must be sitting on the solution to everyone’s problems.

      Obama made a lot of statements last night regarding credit and how we can make it available again. He’s trying to create more scum!

    • InThrees says:

      @Patrick Henry: Or perhaps some of AmEx’s investments have tanked and their assets-to-loans ratio has tanked as well?

      The bulk of these people are likely good cardholders in a boom economy, I would venture… but if you have to bring your amount loaned down, and you get to pick between AAA customers and A…

      It’s not like you can get an AmEx card by filling out an application and getting a free soda at the “Walmarts”.

  2. summerbee says:

    Q: Can you help me enroll in the offer?
    A: If you would prefer to enroll by phone, please call 800-794-1308 and use the code: 138580001.

    I wonder if people who aren’t “selected cardmembers” could enroll with this code. Anyone care to try?

    • lonestarbl says:

      @summerbee: If I didn’t already bail on Amex a few months ago… I would have been game for this.

      CHASE rewards, all the way

    • theblackdog says:

      @summerbee: Doubt it, you have to give them your account number, and the computer will probably tell them if they were selected or not.

    • Jack T Ripper says:

      @summerbee: There is a code put on your account when they send you the offer. If that code is not on your account, then you will not be able to enroll even if you call them with that number. They have record of who they have offered this to and it isn’t for every cardmember.

      • summerbee says:

        @ocdetails: I see your point, but I was hoping that this was the sort of situation in which a human CSR would recognize that you’re not eligible, but a computer (with the right leaked code) would let you in.

        I work as a CSR at a large publishing company, and yeah, I’ve seen all sorts of craziness get through various mechanized systems. You never know, right?

  3. Jakuub says:

    “If Cardmember has not received there offer connect to a TSC CCP to complete the request”

    Another victory in the battle against proofreading.

  4. kwsventures says:

    The same sort of theory is used by those financial companies that hold defaulted mortgage loans. Some will pay the deadbeat in foreclosure some money, like $1,000.00, to vacate the house without damaging anything. Since so many deadbeats are wrecking their residence, stripping it down, putting holes in walls, spray painting, taking anything not nailed or screwed down.

    • BoogerRed says:

      @kwsventures:

      So people who lost their jobs and can’t pay their mortgage are deadbeats? Or how about the people who become ill and cannot work. They deadbeats too? Everyone who happens to find themselves in foreclosure must be lowlife scum because they’ve fallen behind…. Surely the banks had no responsibility in this and are suffering for no reason.

      Hang ‘em all right?

      • Anonymous says:

        @BoogerRed:
        maybe people should learn to save money so that when they do lose a job or become temporarily disabled… they wouldn’t have to worry about not paying their bills. I, myself, am a victim of buying too much stuff and living pay check to pay check.. but luckily for me I’m only 21 and learned how awful it would be if I lost my job.. so now I’m actually trying to save a bit of money so if I do lose my job… I can still afford to pay my bills. I don’t think foreclosure or disabled people are scums.. but it is mostly their fault when they don’t save up and end up going into foreclosure.

      • theblackdog says:

        @BoogerRed: I think the ones who are ill and cannot work are not as likely to punch holes in the walls, spraypaint everywhere and try to steal the copper pipe before leaving.

  5. larrymac808 says:

    ” please see the full terms and conditions enclosed in your card carrier.”

    So you can’t see the full terms and conditions of this card until they send it to you? It probably has usage fees and other crap that makes the 300 “points” worth a lot less than $300. And WTF is all that “points” and “purchasing power” BS anyway?

  6. kiltman says:

    Costco Amex rocks. I get more back from them then they probably get from transactions cause I only use it for gas. 3% back

    • BoogerRed says:

      @kiltman:

      Gotta agree completely there. That’s the only card I use.

    • theblackdog says:

      @kiltman: I just got that card, with the personal rule that I only use it for gas and at Costco.

      • Roy Hobbs says:

        @theblackdog: I just got my annual rebate. This time it was $721 (I run all business and personal expenses through it and do not carry a balance).

        Went to Costco last weekend, took $688 worth of stuff out that I would have bought anyway, AND they gave me $33 on top of it.

        Here’s the fun part – I go to Costco once a year and they give me money to take things out of their store.

    • smythe says:

      @kiltman: I have a discover card that pays 5% cash back for gas purchases. only use it for cash and pay the balance every month. Although they do cap it at $100 per month @ 5% then it goes to .25% and up based on a tiered system etc. etc.

      Still good for a little more than $60 a year for doing nothing. I’m just waiting for them to cancel it like citibank did with the last one I had.

    • lonestarbl says:

      @kiltman: The CHASE program I spoke of above is similar to this, and for some actually better.

      CHASE Freedom: You get 3% cash back on your most used 3 categories (out of about 12 that are preselected) on a monthly basis. Gas(Vehicle Expenses), grocery, utilities… Not to mention you get a free $50 with your first purchase and if you accumulate $200, they tack on another free $50.

      I just used it for a down payment on a new car and it counted as a vehicle expense, so kudos to that one!

      I’ll end my advertisement now…

      • XianZhuXuande says:

        Since we’re chatting about gas money back cards, penfed.org’s platinum Visa rewards card gives you 5% back on gas, 2% back on groceries, and 1.25% back on everything else, free and clear. It is credited to each statement. One of the best cards out there.

    • Antediluvian says:

      @kiltman: Costco will actually cash those rebates for you and you can walk out of the store with dollar rather than merchandise. We learned that last year and just this week got $600 back.

  7. jchabotte says:

    they found step 3!!

    Step 1: Open new Amex card
    Step 2: Transfer balance of existing Visa
    Step 3: Enroll in offer
    Step 4: Profit!!

  8. JGKojak says:

    Dang…

    credit cards should be ILLEGAL.

  9. stevejust says:

    Prepaid card test FAQs
    Q: Caller with AMEX accounts in good standing who did not receive the offer demands $300 in exchange for not cancelling his/her account.
    A:

  10. TheDustball says:

    I always love how FAQs are never written in a way that anyone would actually ask a question.

    Can you imagine a customer calling AmEx and actually saying this:
    “My payment is due prior to March 1, 2009. Should I wait until then to pay so it qualifies for the Prepaid card (officially called Encompass Card)?”

  11. Jack T Ripper says:

    What they don’t tell you is how they are going to report the account to the credit reporting agencies. I’ve heard they could report it as a paid collection. I don’t know that I’m willing to sell off fifty points of my credit score for a $300 gift card…

    • summerbee says:

      @ocdetails: How do you know this?

    • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

      @ocdetails: It’s right ther ein the list — ‘Q: How will the account closing be reported to the credit bureaus?
      A:Your account will not be reported in a negative manner to the credit bureaus, however it will be reported as “closed at consumer request.”.’

      • Jack T Ripper says:

        @larrymac: I hadn’t seen that part. I actually work for American Express in the department that uses this document. I’m not on the phones, so I don’t answer questions like this, but I had heard from someone in Customer Service that they would report it as a Paid Collection. If they report it as closed at consumer request then that would be better.

  12. honestlytoomuch says:

    I work in a call center and it always amazes me how the people who write the scripts for CSR’s (in my case its our Marketing/Communications Department) have no idea what it’s like to be on the phone and say this ridiculousness. Yea, it looks great on paper and yes it even sounds great when rehearsing it…but c’mon! No one calls and speaks like that..and they can’t possibly expect people to answer like that without sounding condesceding and careless.

    • rainbowsandkittens says:

      @honestlytoomuch: I work in a marketing department where we handle company scrips for the call center, and… yeah. While it’s probably more accurate to imagine belligerent conversations that actually transpire, this type of stuffy form helps the CSRs find the general response they are supposed to make more quickly.

      I wish I was authorized to publish a death-threat laced message a totally enraged guy left recently. We sent him a several hundred dollar credit to his account, which he mistook for a bill. Oh boy, was he imaginative!

    • summerbee says:

      @honestlytoomuch: I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m a CSR as well at an advertising/publishing company & I’m a bit overtrained for my position. (Uh, Master’s degree in PR/Communication? This economy sucks!) Anyway, I seriously can’t stand being QA’d on using “lyrics” and other nonsense. It makes sense to have a guideline, but truly good communicators need to tailor their messages to the audience. If a unreasonably belligerent customer called in to cancel their services with us, I am NOT going to want to recite things like “I apologize that you’re unsatisfied with your service, sir; were you aware that your ad is receiving XYZ hits per month?” if they’re screaming at me and threatening to call the BBB. Doesn’t. Make. Sense.

  13. wagnerism says:

    I wonder if there’s a way to skunk my profile with amex to win $300. People usually throw a stick to get me to leave.

  14. kwsventures says:

    I looked up the definition of deadbeat.

    dead·beat 1 (dÄ›d’bÄ“t’) Pronunciation Key
    n.

    1. One who does not pay one’s debts.

    adj. Not fulfilling one’s obligations or paying one’s debts: a deadbeat dad.

  15. rpertusio says:

    “If Cardmember has not received there offer connect”

    ‘their’?

  16. xthexlanternx says:

    I wish I paid my AMEX off last now. I actually paid it off first and its my only card with a zero balance :(

  17. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    Posters are so funny. When credit card companies give credit to everybody they’re “enablers” and wreck the economy. When they start cancelling people’s credit they still wreck the economy. That’s why I only use pawn shops.

  18. savdavid says:

    You only use pawn shops? To do what?

  19. ScottRose says:

    Out of context, this Q exemplifies the consumer credit problem in this country:

    “I would like to pay off my balance, but keep my account open. Can I do that?”