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American Express Overzealous Security Makes Card Useless
StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 2/51

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Today I tried to charge a ticket on a major internet airline reservations site, using my AmEx card. The site refused my card on the 1st try, though I have used my AmEx card on the same site for at least 10 years, and neither my situation nor any of my information related to AmEx has changed recently on that site. I am also a 30 year customer of AmEx. My situation is unusual in that I live outside the U. S., but maintain a permanent residence and phone number in the U. S. This is where my AmEx card is registered.

After the site rejected my AmEx card, I received an email message to phone AmEx security, which I did. They informed me that a "security concern" had arisen, and that they'd have to verify I really was who I said I was by calling my permanent residence in the U. S. Of course, I will not be there, because I don't live there. However, this is my mother's residence, and she can take a message. This won't help me get the time-sensitive ticket I was trying to get today, but eventually I will receive AmEx's message and get back to them in some way specified in the message, and eventually this will free my card for the purchase ... which I don't need any longer.

I asked AmEx what the "security concern" was, and the representative replied that they could not tell me that until they verified who I was. A parallel example: it very much harks back to the McCarthy Era, when you asked the FBI "Why am I being accused of being a communist?" and the FBI replied, "We can't tell you that until you prove you are not a communist."

To verify who I was in my phone call to AmEx security today, they asked me my mother's maiden name, which I answered. So, this was enough for them to verify who I was in a direct call, and they asked for my account number over the line (how do I know THEY weren't at a bogus telephone number?), but it wasn't enough to verify who I was for a purchase, or to straighten out my "security concern".

I then asked why they had to call my permanent residence (where I am currently not), when they could simply ask the security questions they got answers to when I set up the AmEx account. The representative replied that "anyone could find out the answers to those questions". OK, anyone could maybe find out my mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of my SS number. But what about my first dog's name, my first girlfriend's name, or my favorite color? Why doesn't AmEx register meaningful security questions and answers to avoid all the BS about calling my residence?

The bottom line is that this is the third time I've had a similar problem in purchasing tickets over the internet with my AmEx card. Previous times, the problem was resolved with my calling AmEx, answering security questions, and verifying that it was in fact me trying to use the card. This appears to be no longer the way problems are resolved. AmEx is supposed to be a "travel company", and I have kept this card because I travel a lot and live abroad.

More and more, however, the AmEx card is becoming nothing but a problem. I can understand their concern about security, and I appreciate that they're trying to protect themselves and me from fraud. However, the tail (security department) seems to be wagging the dog (customer service) at AmEx, and they can't seem to find a means of ensuring security without making their card essentially useless. I mean, if you can't count on being able to use it, why have it?

Curiously, AmEx is putting on a good show about security, but some of their policies are full of holes. For example, when I set up my internet account with them, they specified that my password should contain the first 5 digits of my SS number. I don't know whether they still specify this, but how dumb is that? Nor have they ever insisted that I change my password on a regular basis, which is something my bank insists upon for online banking.

I am totally disgusted with AmEx, and probably will cancel my card after 30 years. It is ironic that they spend so much money advertising for new customers, and then manage to so royally piss off the ones they have. In dealing with them, I feel like a criminal rather than a customer. My advice to anyone thinking of getting an AmEx card: forget it. You can do much better elsewhere. Or at least, I hope you can.

American Express's Crappy Customer Service Hides Behind an Obsolete Reputation
StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 2/51

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- This is more a review for the customer service of American Express in general. I've been an American Express blue cash card customer for about 4 years now since college. Recently I decided to upgrade to the Gold premier card for a few reasons: $0 introductory annual fee. Increased spending habits (particularly in travel). Need to purchase airline tickets for flights planned later this year; including one I need to purchase immediately for a flight next week (3x points would have been nice for this).

I had some special circumstances when I applied - I needed to expedite the delivery process in order to purchase the ticket for the upcoming flight because the normal 7-10 business day deliver would have been too late. I KNEW this was possible since a friend of mine just applied and received his in 2 business days. However, after speaking to at least 4 different people in the “Apply by Phone” department, everyone denied it was possible and instead gave me a canned lie that “the system will not be updated even if we do a rush delivery.” One representative, upon a request to be transferred to a supervisor, chose to hang up on me instead!

After finally getting in touch with the supervisor there, she suggested I apply online as my friend has done. I ended up doing this and upon speaking to ** through the online process, he assured me immediately that it was possible to expedite the delivery of the card. Why one department within Amex CANNOT expedite delivery and another can completely baffles me and seems to paint a picture of Amex as a ridiculous bureaucracy.

The only reasoning really I can grasp behind this is that Amex cares more about acquiring a new customer (my friend), rather than retaining good loyal customers who have excellent credit. I thought the problem was solved, but when I called back the next day to confirm that the card should be expedited (as ** instructed) it turns out I was processed for the wrong card! (Amex Gold, not Gold premier).

I'm not sure how exactly this could have happened, whether there was some bug with the website (which is poorly implemented to begin with as words flicker in and out) or some kind of miscommunication with whoever I talked to afterward, but before I applied online I carefully reviewed the card application, confirmed that I was applying for the one with $0 introductory annual fee and then $175 thereafter, while my friend who also applied for the same card sat right next to me as an eyewitness and guided me through exactly what he did!

Frustratingly, I then had to sit through 3 more hours of waiting and re-explaining my issue to about 5 more representatives, including a conversation with **, an unhelpful and very bored supervisor from customer service, who for some reason chose to adamantly argue an irrelevant point that Amex has no authority to control what will happen to my credit score if I have to cancel a card, even if I did not order it.

** cut me off while I was asking him a question and transferred me over to ** on New Accounts, who was even more confused than I was about what is Gold premier vs. Gold preferred vs. Gold – he then put me on hold for another 20 minutes, while I assumed he went to check his facts, maybe look back at his training manual if Amex even gives him one…I have no idea.

It came to the point that after talking to ** in New accounts, The only solution they could come up with was to cancel the Gold Card (that I didn't order in the first place) which would lower my credit score and reapply for the Gold Premier. I'm definitely going to cancel the Gold card, along with my blue cash that I've been using, and instead get the Chase Sapphire Preferred, because after dealing with Chase for several years on my banking side I know they are one to still care about customer service.

I understand many of the reps were genuinely trying to be helpful (only a few of them were very rude), but it's clear that Amex has some serious issues with inconsistent and inaccurate information permeating across different departments, poor training (the reps don't even know their own products they are selling!!), and moreover structural problems with management.

Everyone told me something different (yes, I would be able to order my plane ticket the next day through the Amex travel department if I apply today. no I cannot get my credit card expedited.) I'm sure people still love Amex for the membership benefits for which I was initially attracted to, but one thing that they should NOT be commended for is customer service. I'm appalled - they might have had a great reputation historically, but if they continue to treat customers this way it's almost sure to erode. It takes some real effort to drive customers away even before they even receive the product.

Still Waiting for an Apology
By -

CALIFORNIA -- I'm not really waiting for an apology but just reminiscing about my experience 30 years ago this April. My friend and I decided to spend some time driving the coast of California. We visited a lot of great places and we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco around midnight in late April of 1981. The next day we toured the town a bit in my 77 Trans Am and even stopped to chat with a nice S.F. police officer and we asked him for directions to a hotel or restaurant. I can't really recall where we were heading but little did I know we'd be seeing him again real soon.

We checked into a hotel and settled down around the swimming pool. One of the workers at the hotel even let us put our beer in the ice cooler. Couldn't have been more relaxing. That was until a about half of the S.F. police department and SWAT team showed up. They hopped the pool fence and pretty well had us surrounded by what had to be one of the most impressive collection of weapons owned by any police department in the United States.

I still remember the various pistols, shotguns and rifles all pointing mostly towards our heads. Some were inches away and a few stood out such as the Dirty Harry Swiss and Weston. I could see that some of the swat team were also taking aim at us from a balcony overlooking the pool. I later found out that there was a news crew there to document what was supposed to be a major crime bust.

We were told to put our hands on our heads, then someone ordered us to put our hands behind our backs, then our heads, then our backs until we were basically doing jumping jacks without the jumping. I finally asked them "what do you want us to do with our hands" which put an end to our hand waving and we were then placed in handcuffs.

So I guess there was a ten million dollar traveler's check bank robbery in Montreal and our checks were close to the serial numbers that were taken in the heist. Close but not the same apparently and we ended up getting a free night in the hotel because the clerk phoned it in. I don't think anyone was too happy that they had the wrong guys except for my friend and myself. We joked with the officer about asking him for directions earlier and we were just relieved that we weren't going off to jail.

That's the short version of the events of that afternoon, but my issue with American Express is that none of the major banks would cash in my checks and exchange them for new ones. We finally convinced an angry bank manager in Santa Barbara to exchange them for cash or Thomas Jeffersons but that cost me a few bucks for the transaction. This was after a few calls to American Express and following their instructions.

I talked to my bank when I got back home but I never heard back from American Express and being very young, I guess I just let it go. A refund still would have been nice for the few bucks that I lost. At least it would have shown that someone at head office cared a bit when one of their customers ends up staring down the barrel of over a dozen weapons because we were using A.E's checks.

It doesn't really matter anymore but in any event I thought that this was an interesting story to share. I still have credit cards but I'm still hesitating on getting one from American Express. I guess I just don't want to ever again suffer standing in my shorts in the hot sun and watching my beer go flat because I'm wearing some nice, tight steel handcuffs.

AMEX Knows How To Cover Their **
By -

SALT LAKE CITY, VIRGINIA -- In March of 2001 the Wyoming Highway Patrol seized about $10,000 worth of AMEX traveller's checks from me. Subsequently they turned the checks over to the US Secret Service. The US Secret Service held the checks for three years until 2004. I was never charged with any criminal offence regarding these checks.

Rather than returning the checks to me in 2004 the US Secret Service returned the checks to American Express. I have documentation (if you had a place to attach files I could display this) to support this allegation along with a letter from the Secret Service stating the checks sent to American Express belonged to me. In 2006 I hired a Wyoming attorney named ** of Cheyenne, Wyoming. He wrote letters to the legal department at AMEX demanding a refund for these checks being AMEX got my money and the checks back.

I also have documents to support this. He even demanded AMEX show a factual or legal basis for denying me my refund. Never did an attorney respond. He only received emails from someone called ** (legal analyst). I checked with the Utah Bar and there was never an attorney practicing in that state by the name of **. She said she was denying the claim unless I can produce a receipt or proof of purchase. Unfortunately being it was five years since I purchased the checks I did not have the receipts.

However requiring me to produce a proof of purchase before I could get a refund is such a farce. Number one AMEX has records. They know damn well who purchased those checks. For two the checks were held for three years with the US Secret Service. If those checks were not purchased by me clearly I would have had criminal charges filed against me. Three, I have documentation (if you only could allow me to paste documents here) where the US Secret Service clearly and unequivocally state that the checks in question belonged to me. I purchased them on either February 20 or February 21 at the AAA Office on Arkansas Avenue in Denver, Colorado.

In 2007 my attorney filed a complaint against AMEX with the Office of the Attorney General of Utah. The Utah Attorney Generals Office dismissed the complaint because I am not a Utah resident. I then upon my own filed a complaint in 2007 with the New York State Attorney General (where I am a resident). The complaint again was dismissed. In speaking with an attorney for the New York State Attorney Generals Office she said we can only resolve disputes if both parties are willing to do so voluntarily which is a joke. If the two parties can resolve the issue voluntarily why would one have to go to the attorney generals office.

Then in late 2008 I tried to file a complaint against AMEX with the Federal Trade Commission (The FTC).The FTC would not take the complaint because they say they only deal with class action suits. They referred me to the Office of Thrift Supervision. In 2008 I filed a complaint against AMEX with the OTS (Office of Thrift Supervision) and they said that AMEX is a bank and that I should go to the FDIC. I went to the FDIC and they said AMEX is not a bank and that I should go to the FTC.

In 2009 I tried to contact an attorney for AMEX to discuss the refund and I get stonewalled. I first tried phoning the 1-800-221-7282 and I got someone from the Philippines named ** and he refused to connect me to an attorney for AMEX. I also phoned a ** at AMEX in Salt Lake (1-801-945-5146) and he too refused to put me in contact with an in house attorney for AMEX.

It is rather obvious what AMEX is doing. They know how to cover their asses. They know the only way I would get justice from them is by suing them. And for me to hire an attorney it would cost me more than the $10,000 I am out. I am trying to get the money back. Does anyone here know of any way that I can bring AMEX to justice, have them refund me my $10,000? Without it costing me $10,000 to do so. Further there is now telling how many other times AMEX has done this.

They Didn't Raise My Rates but Reduced My Credit Limit With a Score of 719!!!
By -

They didn't raise my rates but reduced my credit limit with a score of 719!!! Get ready folks. It's already happening. Stand up, do something. I cannot believe American Express reduced my credit limit! They invoked the "Universal Default" clause and look for other things in my credit history that don't even apply to this account to make their judgments. This tactic will continue to choke the lifeblood cash flow out of this country. They don't even see what they are doing.

I found out about what they did last night when I tried to buy airline tickets to take my family on vacation. They made the change before they notified me of it the morning before I tried to buy the tickets. Can you believe it? Imagine my surprise. Shame on you people. Your tactics are despicable!

I have been a member since 1981 and always paid my bills. I find it sneaky and underhanded that they took this tactic. The process is to review your credit, look at one or two other elements on my credit that don't fit the "New Rules", and deduce that they should reduce my ability to buy and be offered credit. Way to go, what a great stimulate the economy tactic. Not only does it reduce my ability to buy, it actually hurts my credit rating more because they put my limit $400 above my current balance which makes it look like I am way to close to my limit. The account was $3,000 away from the limit.

I just made a payment on this account of $1,000 last week. I was even going to make another payment of $1500 on it last night. I opened this account when they sold me their bill of goods that I could use it as business account. I started a small business and it was going along great, Realizing Revenues. It was looking good. FAT CHANCE now.

After all the money they received from the federal government to bail them out, they probably paid the execs their big bonuses and turn around and stick it to the people like you and me. We, the consumers, are really the people who are responsible for bailing these banking institutions out. Where do they think the money comes from? Way to instill confidence with generous practices of credit.

I think it totally unreasonable and an invasion of my privacy that they can invoke a "Universal Default" clause and make judgments based on something else they think they found in my credit that has absolutely no bearing on what was happening with the payment history of this account.

My credit score is 719 with one of the all - powerful credit agencies and the other two have me listed with ratings just below that. THAT FALLS IN THE RATING OF EXCELLENT I BELIEVE. WHAT IDIOTS! Well, they have done it now. I WILL BE CLOSING MY ACCOUNTS AS SOON AS I CAN.

We need to stand up, this practice needs to made illegal. I am writing my congressman, and I am going to try to get through to the new president. In fact, I hope he reads this. This is exactly why he needs put constraints on these institutions and make them abide by clauses to open up credit so we can get things rolling again!

Congratulations AMX on driving a way a good customer long term customer. I hope you get what you deserve. I am sure it won't be long and the mighty American Express will go the way of Bear Sterns. Very, very disappointed. I am mad as Hell, and I am not going to take it any more.

Letter to CEO
By -

Let me start off by stating how displeased I am with American Express. I have been a loyal card member for several years now. I have always paid my bill on time and usually pay more than what is due. I went online today to pay my bill and noticed that both of my accounts have had a credit limit reduction. I called and spoke with Andre **; he explained that due to abnormally high credit card usage, American Express has decided to lower my credit limit. Mr. ** stated that beginning in April of this year my credit card use has doubled.

I explained to him that my father passed away and I used my Amex card for an emergency situation to pay for a flight to Thailand, my father's hospital expenses, and then pay for funeral services, and also had to use other cards to fly my father's remains back to the United States. This all occurred over a 2-month period because that it is not easy to ship human remains back into the country and having to wait for availability at Arlington National Cemetery.
I explained to Mr. ** that I had to use all cards to pay for this and hotel rooms in Arlington and that I intentionally spread the fees over several cards so no one card would be maxed out.

He then stated that he was "sorry" for my loss but the decision would not be reversed. Mr. ** stated that American Express could not afford in this economy to take a risk on someone defaulting, especially with someone who chooses not to use their credit wisely. I explained to him that I have been a member for years and have never once defaulted; I in fact usually pay more than the minimum due. I am never late on any payments for any card. He said the decision was actually based on my credit report. I told him he needs to look at my report beyond the number because it will fluctuate due to usage but my payments are never late!

I in fact have a blue card with Amex that has a zero balance and IF I "chose not to use my credit wisely" this card would be maxed out. Mr. ** stated that he had the authority to reverse the decision but even with the facts presented, he stated he would not because Amex could not risk default. I attempted to explain again that my credit usage was not abnormally high before my father's death and not high after his funeral in June. I in fact used it on Saturday for a high purchase ($950) to purchase a laptop for work but other than that hardly at all. I actually pay a fee for this card and can easily transfer this balance to another card(s).

American Express is not the most user friendly card to have. Many merchants will not accept it; trust me I know firsthand because I had to call 5 funeral homes before I found one that would take the card. Given the fact that I do pay a fee for this card and I do pay all my bills on time every month, I am asking that the decision to reduce my line of credit be reversed on both my Amex cards.

Mr. ** stated that Amex could not risk me losing my job due to the economy. I stated that that has nothing to do with my history with Amex and that I am in the medical field as a Nurse Practitioner, and am at no risk of ever losing my job! He then stated that I could get sick and not be able to work. I then explained that that is why I have insurance. To me, it seems that Mr. ** is grasping for a reason. It has been hard enough dealing with the government, the Veterans Administration, and the various agencies concerning the passing of my father. I never thought American Express would turn their back on me.

I always thought that American Express would always be there for me in emergency situations and was a company that had compassion and understanding for individual card members. This is obviously not the case. I am not asking for more than I had, just to be reinstated to my original credit limits. All I am asking is that Amex be as loyal to me as I am to them.

StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 2/51

They send dozens of offers per week. Be wary. You sign up for one and they tell you that you did it wrong or their system was down at the time so you don't get the offer you actually signed up for. DO NOT BOTHER. They are the worst around. My suggested alternatives are Discover (incredible onshore service) and Citi. Amex just keeps burying themselves. No love lost here.

Credit Card Dispute
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

CALIFORNIA -- Didn't get what I paid for and because vendor refuses to refund, they tell me that it can't be refunded. After dealing with this for 3 months, I've talked with the supervisors and they are far more incompetent than the customer service. CANCEL AMEX! Why does this company still exist if the cost of business is more and yet less service. Bye, taking my business to better companies.

Rewards Not Fulfilled
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- I tried Amex Starwood before and canceled it later on. But family felt the last hotel we stayed at was not so bad (even though they did place us in a room next to the elevator) so I applied for it again in 2013. Due to lack of experience, we did not click on the offer terms (who would?). I got approved quickly. The company did not tell us upfront that we would not qualify for the 30K points as had been advertised.

In the next few months, we called at least 3 times to learn why we hadn't received the points. We were told to be patient each time, that you had not spent 5K yet, that it needs a few weeks to process. Until the last time there were no more excuse. They told us we did not qualify as we had had the product in the past 12 months.

We debate a few points: the dates they used to calculate the 12 months (even the way they did it it was only 4 days short of 12 months). 2nd why wouldn't tell us the truth earlier? Amex just replied it was representative mistake and they had given the feedbacks to the reps. But who cares about that? After many attempts we realized it's a hard to win battle. It's amazing how little they care about customer complaint.

Just a few weeks back we were shopping at a furniture store and at the time we tried to pay they found out the price of the furniture was much lower than marked. You know what the manager did? They just gave us the lower price as it was the company mistake! I was thrilled by their customer service. Compared to them Amex is a much larger and financially stronger company and it's a shame how they deal with customers. Maybe that's exactly how they get there.

American Express Gift Cards for Online Sales
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND -- My company decided to give Amex gift cards to employees as a year-end thank you. I tried to use my card at a major retailer's website. The card was denied. I called the retailer and told her I was having issues and she said that she also could not verify the card. She asked if this was a gift card or actual credit card and I told her a gift card. She tried to process payment both ways - both failed.

I called Amex's 800 on the back of the card and after entering the gift card number a recording told me I had $200 available. The next day I tried the online sale again and it failed again. I called Amex again and after hitting a bunch of numbers on the phone I was finally transferred to a human. The guy said I had to register the card first before using it for online retailers. Neither the Amex website or information that comes with the card says this.

He also told me that a sale was pending on the card (the failed sale). I told the representative that the sale never was processed by the retailer. He told me to call the retailer and tell them the card was working and that Amex has approved the amount. I explained that I didn't have an order number to reference because there was no sale. He said in 8-10 business days the amount that has been reserved for the failed sale would be re-credited back to the card.

I asked for a supervisor because I felt this was ludicrous since there was no sale and the supervisor said, "I apologize for any inconvenience but there's nothing we can do; you'll have to wait for the 8-10 business days even though there was no sale because we have reserved the funds for that sale...” So I repeated, “You're holding funds for a sale that never took place?” And he "Joy" his name was Joy, said yes that's our policy...epic fail on American Express' part. They are a horrid company with laughable customer service.

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American Express Rating:
Star Half star Empty star Empty star Empty star
1.4 out of 5, based on 37 ratings and
66 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
American Express
World Financial Center, 200 Vesey St.
New York, NY 10285
212-640-2000 (ph)
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