Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nastygram to the rescue

I guess American Express does care about its customers, as long as you make a big fuss.

Yesterday, I wrote about the problem we had with American Express when they told us they'd have no problem waiving a late fee, but then refused to make good on their word. After I posted, I wrote a separate nastygram directly to American Express:

Last week, on the date our bill came due, I called AmEx to let them know that I would be a day or two late on the bill because of waiting for a transfer to come through from our high-yield savings account. At first, I asked the AmEx employee if the due date could be pushed back to accommodate us since we had never once been late. She said that although she could not alter the due date, she would post a note to our account that we were planning to pay. While we would still be charged a late fee, she explained, we could call in when we made the payment and have the fee reversed.

I asked her if it would be a problem to have it reversed. She told us that it would absolutely not be a problem, given our impeccable history of paying on time.

We did as we were instructed. Imagine our surprise, however, when we called to get the late fee reversed and were told that it would be impossible. This was in direct contradiction to what we were told by an AmEx employee at the time we gave notice that we might be late on this specific payment.

Despite both my and my husband's best efforts, we have been unable to get anyone at AmEx to apologize meaningfully for this discourteous treatment and make the appropriate reparations. We were told in no uncertain terms that we would be able to have the late fee reversed with no problems. What happened is exactly the opposite. This, despite our loyal, problem-free history with American Express over the last three years.

If this is how American Express treats their loyal customers who take the effort to notify them of a one-time late payment, I'd hate to know how they treat the rank and file. I have written about this negative, disappointing experience on my blog [link] and will take the opportunity to spread the word at any chance I get. I really am quite upset and saddened that I was essentially lied to by an AmEx employee, especially one who was so helpful and kind as I explained our extenuating circumstances.

I would hope that AmEx would be willing to make good on this employee's word, as it seemed to be given genuinely, despite any general company policies that might prohibit it. I've been happy to be a Costco AmEx customer in the past and I am sad to have to re-evaluate that relationship at this time as a result of this incident.
You can see I took a slightly softer approach than I did on the phone and in my previous blog post. I decided to focus on the fact that a really nice, helpful AmEx employee told me they could waive the fee, and would it be that big of a deal for them to not make a liar out of her?

Today, I received this response:

Dear Bridget Palmer,

Thank you for your email.

Please accept my sincere apology for the service that you recently received. I understand that in this matter, we did not provide a level of service that was acceptable to you and can understand the disappointment and frustration this matter brings.

Our records do indicate that you have always maintained an impeccable and impressive account history with American Express.

Please be assured that as a gesture of respect to your relationship with American Express and our commitment for impeccable customer service, I have credited your account for late fee in the amount of $XX.XX. This credit will be reflected on an upcoming statement.

I would request you to kindly reconsider your decision of re-evaluating the relationship with American Express and give us an opportunity to be of service to you for many more years to come.

We truly appreciate your association with us since 2006 and would like to serve you for many more years to come.

If there is any other way I may be of assistance, please feel free to contact again.

In the future, perhaps I'll skip the phone route entirely and stick to email. Obviously, it got the job done, and more relieved, I could not be. Three cheers for nastygrams!

Also, for further reading, I recommend this article (pointed out to me by Susanne). It reveals that people like me who pay the credit card balance in full every month, on time, are called "deadbeats." Nice.


Liz Johnson said...

SWEET. I'm so glad that they eventually did the right thing. Seeing that I'm also a Costco AMEX "deadbeat," I was starting to panic about this whole thing.

Susanne said...

Yay! I'm happy your e-mail did the trick! It's a shame you ever had to go that route...I **hate** wasting my life on such things. Oh well. Glad it was resolved. Thank you for letting us know.

Mikael said...

me and derek had the costco american express... until they CANCELLED IT ON US!!!!!! JERKS!!!!!!!!!
We have good credit, have NEVER made a late payment, we dont even make payments because we pay it in FULL every month! IDIOTS.
They said we no longer "fit their criteria" or something stupid. What. are we too good looking? Do we have too good of credit? Should we not pay it in full every month and have a balance??? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
WE HATE AMEX!!!! you can see that I am very upset about the whole thing..... idiots. I think it has to deal with the economy. we still have no idea why they pulled our card out from under our butts with no warning (derek was buying groceries at hte time and it didnt work... no warning).
I am glad you have had a better experience with them. One day me and derek will be rich and they will regret not letting us have amex! And when they offer it to us we will DENY THEM! haha

Britney said...

Hooray for a happy ending. Good for you, Bridget, for taking the initiative and standing up for us "deadbeats". :)

Jennifer said...

Yeah for a happy ending. I love how eloquently you express your disappointment.

Mikael, that is the second time in a few days I have heard of AmEx canceling someone's card with no warning. I read the other one in a magazine or something and AmEx told them it was due to something on their credit report which was totally unrelated to AmEx. Regardless of their reason, I can't believe they would do that! What if that was the only card you were carrying--it could be a serious problem!

The Ensign's said...

These nastygrams always make me smile. It brings me back to my Home Depot days.
I'm glad they made the situation right.

Kristen said...

But if you had skipped the phone route, you mightn't have had such a fiery passion with which to write your nastygram.

Steven said...

This sounds like a youtube video i just watched...


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