A nice customer experience from American Express 14 Aug 2005

19 comments Latest by Marie Lotierzo

I just called American Express to cancel a card I had with them. It was painless and they were even gracious in defeat: they let me know which recurring payments I had on that card (newspaper subscriptions, online services, etc.) so I wouldn’t encounter any loss or interruption of service. That was a great experience.

19 comments so far (Jump to latest)

A. Casalena 14 Aug 05

David Mackay 14 Aug 05

I’m always amazed at big companies (esp. financial services) who don’t make this effort to be pleasant and helpful to departing customers. It reeks of arrogance, and does nothing to improve the already departing customer’s impression of them. Do these firms really think that people don’t share experiences with their friends?

Jon Tirsen 14 Aug 05

You must’ve not been very profitable as a customer (which means you pay your bills on time and don’t incur extra interest rate and so forth). Call centers for card companies has pretty sophisticated systems which shows the profitability of the customer currently on the phone.

If you’re not profitable they’ll do anything to get rid of you.

Matt Haughey 14 Aug 05

That’s weird, when I cancelled a card at amex a few years ago I had to go through a obstacle course of high pressure sales guys begging me to reconsider. I was offered loads of services, discounted plane tickets, and waiving of all fees.

Either they changed policy or their software pegged me as a high dollar stooge that good for late fees (probably a 50/50 chance of either).

Brian 15 Aug 05

I cancelled a business card with AMEX in March 2003. At the same time, I updated my contact information for my other 2 AMEX cards.

In July of 2004, I used a FedEx account that was unknowingly connected to that AMEX account. Instead of denying the charge, it went through. Turns out “oops, we didn’t close your account”. I found in November through a routine credit report check that my account was in collections despite having two other accounts valid and up to date. AMEX would do nothing to assist me, a still-valid cardholder, other than tell me “we can do nothing, you must speak to the collection agency”. The collection agency, predictably, could do nothing other than tell me how I was going to have bad credit until I was 80 unless I paid *right this second*.

Moral of the story? American Express, with unilateral access to your financial history, has no incentive to actually perform the duties requested of them. Even if they *say* they have closed your account, unless you recorded the conversation, you need to verify this. Don’t let them steal from you too…

Ian 15 Aug 05

I’m glad for you that they treated you so fairly. Amex is one of the few companies who earned a place in my Lifelong Badmouth to Friends list. I’ll spare the details, but suffice to say I’ll be asking or those hours on the phone back on my deathbed.

Sometimes purely systems-based businesses don’t work…

Jens Meiert 15 Aug 05

Making it easy to leave also makes it easier to come back one day… That simple lesson is something many companies still need to learn.

Mike 15 Aug 05

Jon Tirsen, unfortunately, not true at all. I have a Chase credit card I haven’t used in 2 years (ever since I got a credit card that gives 1% back to use at Starbucks). I never carried a balance when I did use it. I called to try to cancel the Chase card and they were so relentless about not letting me close it, I finally gave up.

This past weekend, I tried to close my Bank One checking account to free up the money needed to maintain a minimum balance. They ended up getting rid of the minimum balance requirement, so I kept the checking account.

It doesn’t make any sense to me why these companies were so adamant about keeping these accounts open. Netither account is a money maker for them.

Philip Luedtke 15 Aug 05

I really think it has to do with what random person you talk to and the mood they’re in…

Scorched 15 Aug 05

I recently closed a credit card from Bank of America. I asked my bank (Key Bank) to prepare a letter for me asking that the account be closed. BOA closed the account, no questions asked. It was very simple.

Bob Aman 15 Aug 05

Speaking of banks and credit cards, etc…

I need to open a new bank account for my company. Any suggestions for who to go with? Proper online banking and ease of exporting the data would be nice. And if I ever see another message from my bank telling me that my browser isn’t supported… *grumble*

ed 15 Aug 05

As you may already know: if you do ever cancel a credit card, ask for a letter of confirmation that the account has been closed.

Inactive accounts may sometimes be purchased by other banks and ‘magically’ reactivated… with an annual fee.

Ed Knittel 15 Aug 05

As the other ed said: make sure you get a written letter stating that they have closed your account. I always ask “Will you be sending me a letter stating that the account has been closed?” Their response is always the same “We don’t normally send a letter but if you would like us to we will.”

So, don’t think that they’ll just send you one. You actually have to request the proof that the account is closed. Keep this letter in a safe place for the rest of your life. Leave it with a trusted soul when you die. You or they may need to pull it out some day.

Brad 15 Aug 05

When I moved from the US to Canada, I had to close a lot of accounts and change others to an international address. It was an eye-opening experience. My car insurance company (Amica) was great; they were very gracious and invited me to re-enroll with them if I ever move back to the US. On the other hand, a number of companies that I had ordered lots of stuff from over the years (e.g., MacConnection, Patagonia) took me off their mailing lists despite my request to continue sending me catalogues in Canada. Even The Nature Conservancy, which had been the main recipient of my charitable donations for the previous 15 years, took me off their mailing list despite telling me by phone that I could still be a member if I lived in Canada.

Cameron Barrett 15 Aug 05

I don’t have many issues with credit card companies, except for the sometimes very high APRs which are borderline criminal. What I do dislike is the ones that turn around and sell your personal information to marketing companies. I’m especially pissed off at MBNA right now because they sold my info to some place called Teleperformance that now calls me at least 3-4 times a week, no matter how many times I tell them to stop calling me and to remove my name and number from their lists.

One thing I did learn over the years is that when a phone number is required, always put your cell number since the telemarketing firms strip cell phone numbers from their databases before utilizing them. If they didn’t, they’d be liable for paying for those minutes you used when they call you over and over again — which in this lawsuit-happy country would quickly lead to class action lawsuits.

John 16 Aug 05

Looks like a good time to remind US folks about the national Do Not Call list @ https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx

Once on this list, the only telemarketers who called were charity-based ones, who I’ve heard take a good share of the donations you thought were going to charity. Apparently they aren’t considered telemarketers…but if it looks like a duck, smells like a duck, etc.

Wesley Walser 17 Aug 05

Now if only visa would do the same when you order a new card. I can’t count the number of things I have had to change in the past month because of getting a new card.

Anonymous Coward 24 Jan 06

Hello,
Iam a merchant and I had a customer supposedly do an accidental charge back with american express. I called the customer and they said the customer just needed to call to confirm it was a legitamite charge, the customer swore they did numerous times. American express said several times that they (the customer) did not call them. I was told in a letter Nov. 1st that i had to provide documentation of the charge and Fax it to them, I did send samples with the customers name printed on the postcards, business cards (I own a printing business) also the copies of logos on the 3 different business we did work for the person on the items we printed and I received a confirmation that they received the fax (the day before it was due). The day before thanks giving they took the money out of my account $3,650 dollars
even thought I had signed credit card receipts and invoices also emails from the company. The customer promises to bring cash, then a check, nothing happens. I called amex and they said they did not receive the stuff I sent, I sent it again and they still did not want to give me my money back.The customer was avoiding me (they had so many phone numbers including cell numbers). By some lucky chance I convinced them (amex) to call the customer on a three way
the customers answers and being put on the spot admits it is a valid charge. The customer later (2 weeks) calls me and
threatens me for no reason and has started a chargeback on this stuff again, I am closing my bank account and opening a new one to prevent this chargeback again. Iam dropping Amex, this does not seem right that this shit can happen. Any advice appreciated Acolor@mindspring.com

Marie Lotierzo 20 Jul 06

I want to cancel my card, and the number of the back of the card is a number commenting that their are beautiful voices of girls to help you, I dont think this is right. Why cant I get a person on the phone instead of these darn voices

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