Last week we mentioned that Costco has a habit of backdating the starting date for lapsed membership renewals, which prompted Monica to write in and let us know of another issue they seem to have with billing. If you renew your executive membership with Costco but then apply for the Costco American Express card, Amex will charge you the membership fee a second time. Monica says the Amex CSR who fixed the problem told her it happens all the time.
American Express won’t reactivate the charge card Xiyang closed more than two years ago until they get a note on letterhead confirming the source and amount of his annual income from an “accountant, broker, or attorney.” Two accountants and a lawyer each told Xiyang they never heard of such a request, and said that it would be a “HUGE liability” for them to verify his income. Xiyang offered to send in pay stubs in addition to the IRS documents he already submitted, but AmEx won’t budge until they receive their verification on letterhead.
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.
We’re starting to think Amex doesn’t take this whole “data security” thing very seriously. First they confused a customer, and us, a few months ago with their random confirmation phone call, where they demanded a customer turn over bank account information over the phone without giving him a way to verify they were really Amex. Now a reader says the company has “for years” been sending him someone else’s account info via email, including the customer’s name and the last 5 digits of his account number. J.R. writes, “Seriously, I’ve seen better security on a video game forum.”
Wanna see the Maddoff clan’s AMEX statements? They’re online here. 2 grand Giorgio Armani in Paris, 8 grand at a hotel, 10 grand to charity, $441 at a bagel store, the garners of unlawful gains really know how to live it up. But you gotta give the guy some credit: he did pay his bills on time. [Scribd] (Thanks to Chris!)
Here’s a cautionary tale from a Consumerist reader whose credit card company
contacted his out-of-date phone number and got authorization for a $4000 spending spree. withdrew thousands of dollars from his bank account for a payment he had supposedly scheduled and then OK’d over the phone. The problem? He hadn’t scheduled it, that wasn’t him on the phone, and that wasn’t his phone number.
Jon, like many American Express customers, had his credit limit slashed without warning recently. What he did next makes us feel all warm and fuzzy about our jobs here, because he found the necessary contact info buried in a post from 2007. Here’s his story, proof that sometimes persistence pays off.
Courey Gouker’s recent experience with American Express encapsulates every trick the company has pulled in the past few months to drive away their customers, including dropping the credit limit, hiking the rate, and even offering him a cash bonus to pay off his balance in full. In addition, the company’s CSRs made promises to him that they didn’t keep, and notes on his account have gone missing. About the only thing they haven’t done is email a photo of the CEO flipping him the bird.
Apple sold reader Melody the wrong AppleCare package, but instead of switching her to the proper coverage, they issued a refund and told her to re-purchase the warranty extension. They even gave her American Express transaction reference numbers so she could track the refund, but AmEx says the numbers are invalid and that they have no record of a refund posting. Melody’s been out $195 since February, and thinks it’s time for Apple to cough up her money.
American Express has given her an “interim” refund in full, pending a review that will involve the credit card company presenting to PIC officials all of Blessman’s documentation on the services she feels she was denied.
Traditionally, AmEx will send you a replacement credit card via overnight, but an insider tells us that as a cost-saving move, they’ve been trying to cut back on this. If you have low-balance, low-usage or are not an annual fee payer, they might not offer the overnight right off the bat, or may even deny it. Our tipster says there are some key phrases you can use to make sure you get your card lickity-split:
Here are the email addresses for 13 American Express execs, in case you need to send them an eecb.
kenneth.I.Chenault@aexp.com, kenneth.Chenault@aexp.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org [More]
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…
American Express is so desperate to clean liabilities off its balance sheet that it’s paying some customer $300 if they will pay off their balance in full and close their credit card. The offer is only good if you get a card in the mail from them about it with a 14-digit RSVP code. Thanks for playing, don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.