There was a time when American Express was considered to be the most consumer friendly card company. Usually comprising of a wealthy clientele, It was supposed to solve all consumer issues in a breeze and in a fair manner to the consumer.
Thankfully till now I never really had a dispute with a merchant that would need this mediation, however this July was the first time I did. I went to Sam’s club and bought a $100 membership from them. I split that membership charge onto 2 credit cards, 2 American Express credit cards to be more precise, $45 and $55.
When the charges settled, I saw that both my cards had been charged $100, obviously some computer system somewhere had a bug. I thought this is something which Amex would easily resolve. After all both the cards I used to make the purchases carry an annual fee and I consider Amex to be the best in customer service. But, boy oh boy, I was going to be proven wrong. Initially, American Express did not believe me and asked me to submit proof of the overcharging. This is even before they contact the merchant. I submitted the proof along with a description of what had exactly conspired. I have pasted the letter and the receipt below redacting crucial information.
After submitting the proof, there was radio silence for a month and a half. After that time period expired, American Express sends me a message that merchant has shared the disputed transactions receipt and the dispute is closed in the favor of the merchant. I wondered how it could be since I had clearly split the transaction.
Lo and behold ! the receipt also shows I had split the transaction onto 2 cards and the 2 $100 charges were incorrect. Some brainless idiot who is incompetent to even read receipts decided the dispute in the favor of the merchant at American Express. Here are the details :
AMERICAN EXPRESS CREDIT CARD ACCOUNT
CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT
PO BOX 981532
EL PASO, TX 79998-1532
Subject: Dispute of transaction at Sam’s club
I had split the total amount of ($100) on 2 of my cards both Amex cards, one card ending in 63006 was supposed to be charged $45 and the other card ending in 21004 was supposed to be charged $55. However for some inexplicable reason both cards are charged $100.
As you can see in the receipt, I had very clearly split the transaction onto 2 cards.
Amex Response :
We would like to advise you of the status of your claim on your account from Sams Club Memberships. We removed the amount under review of $55.00 from your account during our investigation.
During our investigation, we contacted the merchant on your behalf and asked them to either provide an explanation or issue a credit for you.
In response to our inquiry, the merchant has provided us with the copy of signed charge receipt indicating your account has been charged correctly. We have attached the supporting documentation for your reference.
If you still question the charge, we request you to provide us with the documentation showing merchant overcharged. In absence of this documentation, we will not be able to represent your claim and investigate further.
Therefore, the amount under review has been reapplied to your account and will appear on your upcoming statement.
Thank you for giving us an opportunity to serve you.
American Express Customer Care
The receipt is the exact same as above. Some paper pusher at Amex decided he doesn’t have to actually read a dispute or its documentation.
Now I know there is no way I can lose this dispute, but my faith in American Express as a company is shattered. I spent some time talking to an employee, re-filed the dispute and 10 mins later it was closed again in the merchant’s favor. I restarted another chat, this time with a ‘Harris’, some rude idiot who lost his cool after I told him I am not going on a 3 way call for something as crystal clear as this. This ‘Harris’ which I am sure is a fake name and some Indian call center is handling this then started to apologize. I am also Indian, but its so hard to talk to someone in a call center who doesn’t understand customer and company dynamics. Anyway, need to clear the air with his supervisor now. Posting this for posterity about how bad American Express customer care is.