How AMEX Went from Best to Worst in 48 Hours

Have I mentioned I’m really upset at American Express… a company that until recently I would have said had the best customer support org I’ve ever dealt with?

Honestly, my last two calls with Comcast went better than with AMEX. My brain hurts from trying to wrap itself around that concept.

Here’s the email I sent AMEX explaining my issue with their “customer service”.

Two days ago, I was notified by my bank that my payment to AMEX did not go through. I transferred funds to cover that payment and called AMEX 24-hour customer support to make any necessary arrangements. I was informed by the service rep on that call that the payment would be resubmitted three times and as long as there was now money to cover the payment there would be no problem.

One day ago, I was picking up my car from the garage when my card was denied. I called AMEX customer support and was informed there is always a hold placed on an account when a payment is denied. I explained the call a day earlier and was told the service rep on that call was incorrect. My only recourse to have the hold removed so I could pay for my car repairs was to get a FAX from my bank to AMEX verifying the payment was now covered. When I asked if there were any alternatives, I was told there were none, and even the option to fax was only due to my good history with AMEX.

I’m very disappointed that a $380 charge was denied due to a $2500 payment mistake (which I immediately tried to address with AMEX) one month after a $10000 payment cleared on my account. (Moving is expensive nowadays.) I realize I’m small potatoes in the grand scheme of AMEX, but surely a very good account history should count for a bit more! ESPECIALLY when I had already contacted AMEX about the payment mistake in an effort to correct it and was informed there was no problem!

I’m used to my AMEX working. I don’t keep other credit cards, or cash on hand, or more than minimum cash in a debit card account. This made my trip to the dealer yesterday very, very difficult and embarrassing. My lesson has been learned and I will not depend on AMEX again. I expect I will have to get another credit card. This will lead me to evaluate whether my participation in the rewards program is financially justified when using my AMEX less. I don’t think the annual fee will be worth it in those circumstances.

I’m sure the loss of one customer won’t hurt AMEX much. But I thought you should know how American Express customer service went from being the best to the worst in my experience in less than 24 hours.

Sincerely disappointed,
Matt Hicks

A day later (that pesky 12-hour time difference w/ India makes same-day responses unlikely…)

Response (B—— R–)
Dear Matthew G Hicks,

Thank you for your e-mail.

It is a matter of great concern to us, that you are extremely unhappy with our recent service. It is both unfortunate and regrettable. I would like to assure you that we greatly value our relationship with you.

I have checked your account and see that $342.19 from Copac was declined since your payment was declined at the time of this transaction was made.

I would like to inform that charges are declined when your bank declines the payment and I would like to assure you that it with all the cardmembers and not only with you.

I contacted our Account Services Department on your behalf and have got your charging privileges re-instated.

Therefore, you can use your Card account for future usage with confidence.

I hope this information is to your satisfaction.

Have a nice day.


B—– R–
Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

Hmmm… they must get a lot of complaints about not being able to charge on cards, because they totally missed the point of my email. Maybe I didn’t communicate it well–I tried again.

Dear B—— R–,

Thank you for your prompt response.

Is there a record of me contacting AMEX customer service on Oct. 13th? When I spoke to a representative regarding the denied payment, I was assured there would be no problem if the funds were now present. Why was I told that if it was not the case–that there was a standard procedure to place a hold on the account for seven days after a denied payment? Are you looking into who this representative was and correcting her understanding of how the process works? Do all of your cardmembers and not only me have problems after they are told by an AMEX representative that there will be no problem?

I hope you will understand my issue is with customer service, not with whether I am able to charge to my AMEX card at this time.

Matt Hicks

Again, a day later, I received a response…

Response (S——- C———)
Dear Matthew G Hicks,

Thank you for your follow up email.

I am sorry for the wrong information provided to you by the previous representative. I appreciate you taking your valuable time to contact us about this matter.

I would like to inform you that we are continuously seeking ways to improve our products and services, and I have forwarded your comments regarding your experience to our management team for their review.

I am grateful that you have shared your thoughts with us and would like to assure you that the feedback we receive from Cardmembers plays an important role in enhancing your customer experience.

I would like to apologize to you again for any inconvenience caused to you due to the wrong information and If there are any other questions or concerns would request you to write back to me.


S—— C———-
Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

This happened last fall, but I waited hoping to hear back from someone at AMEX management regarding my concerns. I’ve waited long enough.

Ah well, I’ve already gotten a card to replace the AMEX… we’ll see if this one has people in customer service who are either completely ignorant of their company’s policies or blatantly lie to customers. I hope not, because the world is just too confusing for me if Comcast has the best customer service.

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