American Express Fails At Replacing My Card Or Pretending It Cares

Over its long history, American Express has always positioned itself as a credit card company that offers the best in customer service. But one Consumerist reader’s story shows that AmEx can screw things up just as royally as its competitors — and that its complaint department also doesn’t actually read your complaints.

A couple weeks back, Dave needed to get a new American Express card very quickly. He called AmEx on a Friday and was told his new card would be delivered by UPS on Saturday.

But when he tracked the package that morning, he saw it wouldn’t be delivered until Monday. This wouldn’t work, as Dave was heading out of town to Las Vegas on Sunday.

“I spoke with another agent who tried to help but couldn’t since the previous replacement card request was made less than 24 hrs before,” writes Dave. “She did say that she could have a card made for me at a AMEX Travel Office in Las Vegas at noon and would call me to confirm that it was done.”

That call never came, so Dave called back around 7 p.m. An agent told him all was well and that his card could be picked up in the Vegas office after 2 p.m.

Dave decided to call the AmEx office before heading over there. Unfortunately, he was told they had no record of a replacement card request.

Dave continues:

I then called customer service again and a supervisor said to call her when I got to the Las Vegas office. I repeated the number twice and she confirmed it. Once I got to the office, I called the number but it was an invalid extension. Then both myself and the reps at the office called customer service.

After a few tries we got someone we thought could help us, or so we thought. A confirmation was faxed to the office but the number was incorrect. We tried the supervisor who sent the fax but she did not answer or respond to the voicemail. We then called customer service again and eventually got someone on the phone that resent a new number. I spent over an hour and a half in the office.

Sure, Dave didn’t get good customer service from the few people he’d dealt with at AmEx, but the folks at American Express HQ would certainly at least pay lip service to his concerns once they heard his story, right?

Alas, all he received was this fill-in-the-blank response that didn’t address any of the issues detailed in his e-mail to American Express:

I understand that in this matter, we did not provide a level of service that was acceptable to you. We always strive to provide the best customer service, and I have also forwarded your concerns about this matter to the appropriate department.

I see that a Card replacement request was processed on 03/24/2012 for you to pick up the Card at our Travel Service Offices by 03/25/2012.

I wish to assure you that American Express always tries to provide best Customer Service to its valued Cardmembers and your experience is a rare and regrettable one for us.

We hope you will allow American Express another opportunity to regain your confidence.

All American Express had to do in this situation was craft a response that at least appears like the person writing it actually read your complaint.


Edit Your Comment

  1. RandomMutterings says:

    American Express is a pale shadow of what it once was. I hope they ‘take this seriously’ and am looking forward to an update.

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    They should at least resolve his cockers.

  3. John says:

    I have had nothing but EXTREMELY positive experiences with AmEx. Odd.

  4. humphrmi says:

    I’m not defending the difficulty involved in getting his replacement card, but it seems to me that the headline misses two important points, one that (at least it appears) after 1.5 hours in the LV Amex office, he *did* get a replacement card, and two that clearly the Amex rep in the LV Office cared enough to chase this down to conclusion. Kudos to him or her!

    It further appears that Dave got a pretty standard canned response from Amex when he complained about his experience. Yeah, I hate those too, but if I wrote to Consumerist every time I got one, I’d have to quit my job.

  5. VicMatson says:

    If you qualify (always delivered to million dollar houses) American Express will make a card for you locally and courier it out to you. I know because I have to do the bringing it out to you.

    • fs2k2isfun says:

      Or perhaps the people who own AMEX cards which feature such a service tend to live in nicer houses and have more money to spend on their AMEX?

    • Yomiko says:

      Is the color of these cards black? Methinks that is not the product line of the card Dave has.

  6. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Dave should have a second card to use.

    • ovalseven says:

      How do you know that he doesn’t?

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Then why was it absolutely imperative that he get his American Express card before he went on his trip?

        • ovalseven says:

          Maybe it’s the card he prefers to use. I don’t know. That’s a question for Dave.

        • jamar0303 says:

          Depends on what you’re buying. AmEx’s purchase protection/return protection/extended warranty people are much easier to deal with than most, so if you’re buying something expensive/breakable it’s a smarter idea to use one if you can.

  7. AllanG54 says:

    I’m just wondering why he waited until the last minute to call for a replacement card unless he lost it that day. Remember….”poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” Words to live by.

    • SkokieGuy says:

      Complete irrelevant. “He called AmEx on a Friday and was told his new card would be delivered by UPS on Saturday”

      Either Amex can meet their own commitments or they can’t. In this instance they promised more than they could deliver.

      • Round-Eye §ñ‰∫∫„ÅØ„Ç≥„É≥„Çπ„Éû„É™„ÉÉ„Çπ„Éà„ÅåÂ•Ω„Åç„Åß„Åô„ÄÇ says:

        This. The date on which the card was lost/stolen doesn’t matter. AmEx touts itself as being super customer service oriented. If they’re advertising for services that can’t provide, then they need to address that. And, in this case, I would say that in this case, poor planning on the OP’s part does constitute an emergency on AmEx’s part since that’s what AmEx customers are paying for and expecting.

      • LJKelley says:

        I’ll give you that. But who is to say it is not a UPS screwup in delivering Monday instead of Saturday. And what other company has a card made on the spot for you? Most others won’t regardless of your financial status.

        I’m not saying there wasn’t hiccups. Obviously a miscommunication with the Vegas office and a failure on UPS or AmEx on the original delivery. But AmEx made it right.

  8. bleigh says:

    My card decided not to work one morning when I was trying to re-up my metrocard, and I called them and I received a new card the next day. Amex is always amazing for me. It’s terrible he didn’t get his card the next day, but I think only FedEx delivers on Saturday, right?

    • Boehme417 says:

      Wrong. UPS and the USPS will also deliver on Saturdays.

    • LastError says:

      UPS and USPS will deliver on Saturday. USPS will even deliver on Sunday (!) for an extra fee. It’s not cheap but works for emergencies.

      Fedex may do Saturday deliveries in some areas but generally do not.

  9. BETH says:

    When my card number was stolen, American Express fedexed me a new card overnight. Dave should have a back up card. You never know when your credit card won’t work. And why would he wait until Friday to order a new card when was leaving town on Sunday.

  10. cornish says:

    I had a much difference experience with American Express. Several years ago my wife and I were driving cross-country and spent the night in St. Louis. The next morning we’d been on the road for about an hour when I realized that I’d left my card at the restaurant the night before (yup, stupid). Called American Express and they had my replacement card waiting at the front desk when we checked into our hotel in Columbus, OH that evening.

  11. dwfmba says:

    This seems weird to me… AMEX is the ONE company that I still think has truly good customer service. Its a shame that he was treated like this.

  12. dush says:

    I should give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he had no way of planning more than a day ahead to request the AmEx card.

  13. oldwiz65 says:

    They’ve probably gotten rid of all the good people in customer service and replaced them with incompetent idiots. Or maybe they outsourced it to Thailand.

  14. quail says:

    Nothing but praise from me and all of my A/Ex experiences. Heck, before cell phones were prevalent I’d have my card swiped at a gas station and the system would say that a call needed to be made. The retailer would make the call, then hand over the phone for the agent to give me a message and to call the office due to an emergency.

    Sure it can be frustrating when mishaps occur, but it doesn’t sound like A/Ex was a total horror to deal with.

  15. deniedbeef30 says:

    I have actually found that AMEX has excellent customer service. The two companies that I have dealt with that I have found to be the best have been AMEX and USAA. I think that USAA has been overall the best and I have been moving towards most of my service towards them (Insurance first, then banking, now perhaps a mortgage refinance). Nobody is perfect, but they have been much better than others…Wells and BOA!

  16. creativecstasy says:

    A few months ago, I needed my AmEx card replaced. I called customer service and explained the situation. I think it was a 3 day federal holiday weekend, so my card was promised to be processed in 48 hours instead of the standard 24, and it would be on my doorstep Wednesday morning.

    Wednesday came and went. I called AmEx and they said give it one more day. Thursday came and went.

    Called again, and was told the card was delivered, and they had a UPS confirmation. Suffice to say, it wasn’t delivered. Re ordered the card, with a new number this time. I was promised it would arrive by 10 am the following morning. I asked for the tracking number and was told by a supervisor it’s against policy to give customers that information. Guess what, ***The credit card didn’t arrive.***

    I should take this moment to say, I get UPS deliveries ALL THE TIME, and I live in a major metropolitan city.

    So I call back, get a supervisor on the phone, explain the fact that 2 replacement cards are MIA, I have been without my AmEx for over a week, and this is entirely unacceptable. I insist that they send a new card some method other than UPS. They say they don’t have any other contracts, the only method is UPS. She offers a statement credit for my troubles. “Take yourself out for a nice lunch,” she says. (without my credit card…?)

    Supervisor finally agrees to send it USPS with insurance or delivery confirmation or somesuch. That night, I get an email with a tracking number for a UPS package, that doesn’t exist according to the UPS website.

    The very next day, the AmEx card arrives, via DHL.

    Moral of the story: WTF, AmEx?? Also, who at UPS stole TWO of my credit cards off the truck?

  17. Clyde Barrow says:

    Well don’t feel alone OP, I’ve had issues with AMEX also. Last year I had a legal name change and sent all necessary documents to my CC companies including AMEX. AMEX was the only company that lost my documents so somewhere in someone’s inbox (hopefully) is sitting my court document, new Social Security document, license, and authorization form. After multiple messages to AMEX through my account about why I have not received a new card with a new name, they keep responding that they need all my documents to do so. But I keep telling them they already have them. So round and round the dog chases its tail.

    Until someone finds out where these doc’s are no one is getting new copies. So I either keep using my card with my old name or else one day I’ll just cancel the damn thing. No skin off my back.

  18. bruin14 says:

    A couple of months ago I was getting ready to walk out the door on a 1 week long trip. I just happened to check my Amex account only and saw that the day before somebody in another state had managed to charge over a $1000 at on my card, I called and canceled my card. This was on a Sunday, by Tuesday morning Amex had delivered a replacement card to the Hotel where I was staying. I am coming up having a card with for 30 years and have never had a horrible experience with Amex, well maybe a couple of semi-bad customer service encounters on the phone….However, I have walked into hotels with literally nothing in my pockets but lint and called the Amex 800 number and got checked in for the night.