Want To Opt Out Of Information Sharing? AmEx Doesn't Answer The Phone

Christopher Null over at Yahoo! Tech doesn’t want American Express to share information about him with their “Affiliates and other companies we work with.” Christopher wants to opt out. That’s where he ran into trouble:

At the bottom of page three is a coupon with four check boxes on it. Check each one and I can opt out of a multitude of different marketing opportunities. Naturally, I’d prefer to simply call in my opt-out preferences to the 800 number printed on the the slip. Otherwise I’ll have to dig up an envelope (no reply envelope was included), write the multi-line address on it, stamp it, mail it, and hope for the best. Calling the 800 number is relatively free and painless, while dealing with postal mail is by definition a pain in the rear. And for some reason, I just don’t trust this method to actually work.

I call (800-297-8378 if you want to try it for yourself). I get a recording welcoming me American Express and notifying me that the call could be recorded… then abruptly says: “The computer system needed to answer your questions is not available.” And it hangs up.

Chris says the phone number has been non-working for 5 days now and sure enough when The Consumerist called it a sing-songy computer voice cheerfully proclaimed the computer unavailable and unceremoniously hung up.

Sadly, one cannot opt-out of telephone and postal marketing through AmEx’s website, so it seems that Christopher will have to locate that stamp. What’s the deal, AmEx? 5 days is much too long to go without a way for your customers to opt out via telephone. As Christopher says, “If this is all a scam (and I hope it isn’t), shame on AmEx. If, instead, it’s the longest, most difficult computer error in the history of mankind, well, it’s time to put out a press release.” Too much to ask? —MEGHANN MARCO

American Express’ Shady Privacy Practice [Yahoo! Tech]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Buran says:

    I’m sure it would have been fixed immediately if it was a hotline that allowed people to give AmEx money. Since it’s one thst stops them from getting money, I’m not surprised it’s broken.

  2. simian-fever says:

    5 days of calling? Mail probably would have been there by now. Just sayin’. :)

  3. catnapped says:

    @simian-fever: Yep–and out in the trash (unread and shredded)

  4. ella says:

    I was able to get through.

  5. Skiffer says:

    I just bought my first house, and my mortgage was sold to Countrywide Financial – not only have I found a number of horror stories about them on the web, but I had the same experience.

    Decided to call their privacy hotline to opt out of their information sharing – only to find the computer system was not functioning…

    Finally called their normal customer service number and the representative said she opted me out…but, I have my doubts…

  6. FLConsumer says:

    Are you calling from the phone # that’s on your account? I don’t carry an AmEx card (it’s not as universally-accepted), and the call didn’t go through, making me wonder if it does work for account holders only.

  7. Nick says:

    It worked for me a few days ago. Since everyone recently got that letter, I think their system is being overwhelmed.

  8. macinjosh says:

    Chris dials.
    AmEx picks up, tries to lookup customer from phone number
    Lookup returns Null.
    Phone system gets confused.


  9. ella says:

    Call customer service (the regular line not the privacy specific number) and try going through a real person – I had to do this with Bank of America.

  10. Carrnage says:

    This just happened w/ a credit card of ours. To opt out of a finance charge increase, they wanted me to put my name, address, ENTIRE CC number in a letter and send it back to them. What’s worse is the letter that they had sent to me. No letterhead and just identifying my card by the last 4 digits which anyone who swiped my receipt from any restaurant could’ve had.

    I called them up and ask that they do it over the phone and they said that legally they can’t do that…..argh. I’m canceling the card instead.

  11. Myron says:

    It worked for me.