American Express discovers new depths to customer service

I’ve been an American Express customer for a long time.  But recently they made it apparent that they do not want my custom so I’m in the process of closing my accounts. Unless their customer service tactics are treat ‘em mean and keep ‘em keen something very strange is happening at that company IMHO.

It went thus …

I’ve had and used both a gold charge card and a gold credit card for many years – which I got especially because Amex is supposed to be a good card to have while traveling. Both cards are paid up and in good order, with automatic payments set up so I don’t forget to pay on time.

Last week while traveling interstate I went to pay for a taxi using the gold credit card and it was declined. I did not think much of it and just used my ANZ Visa card to pay instead. Then later I tried to use the Amex card and it declined again. Mildly cross I put the card away. It seemed weird because based on my credit limit with Amex I had over $10,000 left of my credit limit available at that point in time.

However, unbeknown to me Amex had decided reduce my credit limit by over 50% and I now had no credit limit left on that card. IT IS A VERY GOOD THING THAT I WAS NOT TRAPPED, A WOMAN ALONE IN A STRANGE CITY, WITH ONLY THAT PARTICULAR AMERICAN EXPRESS CARD ISN’T IT?

Thank heavens for my ANZ Visa card – again an account in good standing – and one that was not ripped from under me in a very hostile way.

I arrived home several days later to find a letter from Amex advising me of the change in the credit limit. Sadly that letter at my home which reduced the credit limit without notice served no good purpose for someone who was 2,000 kilometres away at the time.

The letter also advised that my card could no longer withdraw cash from ATMs; further it stated:

As your current balance is close to the revised limit stated above, please ensure you make a payment prior to using your card next….

Yours faithfully,
Adrian Janssen
Head of Credit Services
American Express Credit Card

Oh thanks Mr Adrian Janssen (who signed the letter) that really helped when your letter arrived while I was traveling. Perhaps a short notice period might have been a bit of good customer service to cover such a case?

Of course, upon arrival at home late Friday I tried to phone Amex to discuss this matter. To no avail as the credit department do not work outside of ‘business’ hours.

Up until now my relationship with Amex was settled. Even though their cards are not widely accepted in many places that I shop and merchants often add an extra several percent onto transactions to cover the higher Amex merchant acceptance fees, I still kept their cards. But no longer.

The matter is easily resolved. I simply took out my cheque book, wrote a cheque and walked to the post box and dropped my payment in the post.

I’ll be calling at a more convenient time for Amex – during the ‘business’ hours they work – to close both my accounts. My life is busy enough without rubbish like this. Voting with my feet will make me feel a whole lot better.

Here is a sample of the Twitter conversations regarding this matter.

Source:the nice folks over at Sency

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8 comments

  1. Your comments have been noted and will be incorporated into our ongoing cutomer satisfaction reviews.

    Res assured that at American Express, we will always go that “extra mile” to ensure our customers’ expectaions are exceeded – another reason to keep using The Card.

    Sincerely yours,

    Edward D Rankin Sr, Vice President AMEX Oceania – Customer Relationships

    “American Express”, “AMEX”, “The Card” and the American Express Logo are trademarks of the American Express Company, Incorporated in Delaware United States of America.

  2. Your comments have been noted and will be incorporated into our ongoing cutomer satisfaction reviews.

    Res assured that at American Express, we will always go that “extra mile” to ensure our customers’ expectaions are exceeded – another reason to keep using The Card.

    Sincerely yours,

    Edward D Rankin Sr, Vice President AMEX Oceania – Customer Relationships

    “American Express”, “AMEX”, “The Card” and the American Express Logo are trademarks of the American Express Company, Incorporated in Delaware United States of America.

  3. Kristi says:

    I hear you! I am also 90% certain I am going to close my accounts. Earlier in the year with the whole Qantas Frequent Flyer mess, I wanted to cancel my card. They talked me into keeping it and waived the annual fee on the new card which allowed me to earn QFF points at the great rate of 0.75! So I agreed to keep the card.

    However, they never told me the would reduce my limit by 90%! My current card had a $20k limit, and I assumed the new card would too (my mistake I know I didn’t check).

    Imagine how annoyed I was when I couldn’t pay for a flight (Qantas too!) with my card because the limit was $2k!

    Well I thought this would be easily fixed, however when I called them they said I wasn’t entitled to a credit limit increase for 6 months!

    ????

    The whole reason I got the new card was to replace the old one and continue earning QFF points. $2k is useless to me as I only use myu Credit card for large purchases.

    Amex is no longer what it used to be, plus many merchants are wising up and refusing to take it.
    I am struggling to find a reason to keep mine….

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  5. What a peculiar experience.
    FWIW, I suspect you have had an unusual time with Amex, which takes its customer service seriously enough to have canceled an offshoring contract, because the company figured its best customers (Gold card holders etc) deserved a better experience.
    The company has since outsourced its contact centres to some top-drawer local players and has some in-house capability, too.
    Having said that, this tactic of giving you a very short notice period of your lesser credit limit is just BS. You won’t be the only one to go as a result.
    Let’s not rule out, however, this being a deliberate tactic to piss off customers who don’t make Amex money because you always pay off your card before it incurs interest. A couple of credit card companies in the UK have been completely upfront about firing customers for that reason!

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