9/11 Ruins Another Customer Experience

Angela can’t get a new American Express card because Amex can’t verify her Social Security number. They have to verify it because of 9/11. Since they can’t, they’ve canceled her application. Because of 9/11.

I have an American Express card. It’s a regular gold AmEx, I’ve been a card member since 2005, some months I carry a balance, some months I pay it off in full. I’m just an average customer.

Over the past couple of months I’ve decided that I’d rather have a JetBlue AmEx than my gold AmEx. So, I’ve been trying to apply for a JetBlue AmEx. The key word is TRYING.

1- I tried to just change my gold AmEx into a JetBlue AmEx, but itdoesn’t work that way (I’ve been able to change Citibank credit cards around like that, so I did think it might be that simple.)

2- the only way I could get a JetBlue AmEx was to apply, have my credit report pulled, etc. Ok. I’m totally ok with that.

3- I have a security freeze on my credit reports, so I did a temporary lift of the security freeze on Experian, so that AmEx could run my credit report.

4. My application was cancelled. Not ‘declined,’ cancelled. The online reason I was given was that my Social Security Number could not be confirmed, and so because my SSN could not be confirmed my application was cancelled.

5- I just got off the phone with AmEx’s 800 number, to ask about this SSN message. I thought maybe I’d received the wrong error message, and this was a problem with my security freeze, but nope- the temp lift is fine, and my Experian report can be run. However apparently on top of that the AmEx SSN verification system that is used “because of 9/11” (exact words the rep used) could not verify my SSN to their satisfaction, and so that is why my application was cancelled.

6- But, the rep informed me, all I had to do was go down to my local Social Security office, and get a letter on SS letterhead verifying my SNN, and send it to AmEx, and then they would consider my application again.

I have no interest in going down to my local Social Security office, just so that I can apply for a JetBlue AmEx, but I am wondering about the “because of 9/11” reason that I was given:

– (sorry to be redundant, but) I ALREADY HAVE AN AMEX,
– the AmEx I already have I received in 2005. So obviously my SSN existed in 2005 and passed the “because of 9/11” procedures in 2005, so why am I having such a hard time just *applying* for an AmEx?

Can we get a moratorium on using 9/11 as an excuse for anything customer related? What happened to “for security reasons” as a legitimate excuse?

(Photo: apesara)