AmEx/Citibank Nullify Annual Fee For Laid Off Customer

Chuck lost his job several months ago and wanted to continue his American Express membership, but had trouble justifying the $50 annual fee in his limited budget. So he launched an Executive Email Carpet Bomb, started his own anti-AmEx blog and started picketing…

Well, no. Actually he just called customer service and asked if there was anything they could do for him. To his surprise, he got a “yes.” He writes:

A heartwarming story to share with you… I was laid off from my job in march and have pretty much purchased nothing but groceries and the occasional smidgen of gin, in addition to transportation costs, utilities and my mortgage.

I recently received an annual fee of $50 for my Citibank American Express (the card was issued by Citibank South Dakota “pursuant to a license agreement with American Express). I called customer service and asked if it was possible to either waive the fee or change the account to a no-fee option.

Mind you, I also made it clear that my only other option was to close the account and to rely on other credit cards that I have with no fees…

Sylvia, a pleasant customer service rep, transferred me within minutes to Grant, “a customer service specialist,” who explained to me that because of their agreement with AAdvantage/American Airlines, they could not waive the fee — however, I was offered a $50 voucher from Citibank, which will be mailed to me and I return… thus covering the membership cost for the following year.

I was quite surprised and pleased by the level of customer service shown… I was also wished luck in my job search… all very cordial and beyond the level of consideration that I anticipated.

How about that? A service story with a happy ending, for a change.

So now you know how to get out of AmEx’s dreaded annual fee — just lose your job and get lucky enough to find a compassionate CSR on the other end of the line.

(Photo: DCvision2006)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.