American Express's crappy customer service hides behind an obsolete reputation
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card - Complaint
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:
1) $0 introductory annual fee
2) Increased spending habits (particularly in travel)
3) 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 becausse 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 Omar 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 Omar 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 Steve, 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. Steve cut me off while I was asking him a question and transferred me over to Adi 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 Basheer 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.