American Express

The secret of getting money back from a large and powerful corporation is:


1. Go to the top guy and make him feel good.

2. Illustrate you have been a good customer.

3. Tell him your problem and go for a laugh.


Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer American Express

Dear Mr. Chenault,

I recently came across the following:

“We stood behind our promises even if we could not control every circumstance. And because we did, we earned a reputation for delivering world-class service. Throughout our history, American Express has been defined by the extraordinary care we take to serve our customers, wherever and whenever they need us.”

You will of course recognize those words. You wrote them in a recent report that is available on your website.

I’ve always felt that American Express was and is a dynamite corporation.

In the World Fair in New York I lost $500 dollars in AMEX traveller’s cheques. (They were spelled that way because I bought them in Canada.) I had my money back in four hours.

Then about seven years ago someone broke into our home and stole $500 worth of AMEX checks. Dumb me, I forgot to the keep the serial numbers in a different area.

Nevertheless, AMEX came through again and we had our money within a week or so.

A few years ago I had a problem with a computer and because of your marvelous extended service I was able to obtain a new laptop.

So, Mr. Chenault, I’m impressed with AMEX’s track record.

As a matter-of-fact, because of the above and your online abilities to keep track of our financing, my wife and I find ourselves using our Platinum card more and more.

We travel quite a bit and often we pay our bills from some far away place. We are doing more and more things “online.” And that’s a bit of a problem since we were supposed to get a rebate but for some reason never did.

This month it dawned on me that we had a rebate coming but when I called to ask about it, an officious lady told me in no uncertain terms that we had been notified by mail and would only be allowed half of our rebate.

I found this quite curious and when I talked to the next AMEX rep he said he was only going to give me half and before I could protest (or agree) this AMEX rep hung up.

Yes, I should have read the numerous notes that came with my statements. Alas, I was reading my bill and paying online. I agree I should be more attentive to my finances. Guilty as charged. No question.

But that is no excuse to be rude and dismissive with me.

Tragically, your customer service reps don’t share your feelings about:  “… the extraordinary care we take to serve our customers, wherever and whenever they need us.”

I don’t think it’s fair that the longer AMEX owes us money, the less I get. Because to be fair, the longer we owe AMEX money, the more it gets.

So could I please have our remaining $64.03?

And would you tell those reps not to be quite so curt with me in the future and to stop attempting to intimidate me by telling me that they’re recording every cuss word and threat I utter.


Jaron Summers


Two weeks later came a happy ending.

Ken’s executive secretary took care of it all.

And gave me $75 bucks extra for being a good customer. Wow. Now they need billions to bail themselves out.

I think I might return the $75. I said might.



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