Friday, January 12, 2007

Another open letter to American Express

Dear American Express;

Hi there. I've written before, but you probably don't remember. Certainly when I mentioned that the deluge of solicitations to upgrade to a Platinum personal AmEx card was not endearing you to me, you quite blithely ignored my plea to be left alone.

Well here's the thing, AmEx -- somewhere along the line, you've decided that I have or that I am a "small business." I'm not. I worked as an independent contractor for a bit in 2003 and 2004, but that doesn't mean that I'm a small business. Nevertheless, you seem to think that bombarding me with solicitations for various types of cards in your "OPEN" network will somehow magically change my whole life. At first, when I started to receive these offers, I would write on the application "remove me from your list" and send it back in your business-reply envelopes. This had absolutely zero effect (although it did cost you money, so I'm happy about that). I thought that after filing my taxes as a typical wage-slave, my name might drop off your lists, but that didn't happen.

A couple months ago, I tried calling the number listed on one of the letters, to beg to be left alone. I think that worked for a short amount of time, but somehow, someway, you've once again decided that I really might be interested in a small business card. What's slightly odd is that no other credit card company seems to be suffering from this delusion, so I really wonder about how well you source the information you buy.

In any case, so far this year, I've received four of these solicitations. It's only the twelfth of January, for goodness' sake! You are like a small child that keeps almost poking me in the side -- "does this bug you? does this bug you? I'm not touching you! does this bug you?"

Well, yeah, actually it does bug me. Let me state unequivocally right here and now that if I ever do start up a business, I would never consider one of your cards.

Today I went through the list-removal exercise again. I called the number on the solicitation, but of course the people in that call center can't help me. "Call this number," I am told. So I call the number I was given, only to hear "the number you have dialed can not be reached. Please check the number and try again." Nice. I call the first place again, report the problem, and am given a different number. This time I connect, but an IVR system wants me to enter my account number. This does not bode well. I remain silent and press no keys, and eventually reach an agent, who of course wants my account number. I tell this person that I'm not calling about a card, I want to get off of a mailing list. I'm given yet another number to call. I bitch and moan that I'm tired of being given the runaround, and the agent says "I can connect you to that department." Well, why the hell didn't you just do that in the first place?

I end up in a call queue. The recording tells me that "due to higher than normal call volumes, your wait time might longer than anticipated." OK, this is just a guess, but maybe you're having higher than normal call volumes because you're sending out way too many incorrectly targetted solicitations? Eventually, I reach a live person. I give all my information and am assured that my name will be removed from the mailing lists, although it will take four to six weeks. I mention that I was promised that I'd been removed once before, and got some story about my name being on another list they bought.

Whatever. In the meantime, each and every solicitation will be returned to you using the business reply envelopes so that I can bump up your costs just a little as payback for being so freaking annoying.

Let's talk soon about the neverending platinum card "invitations" m'kay?

Yours Truly,
Larry Mac (NOT a small business)


At 16/1/07 14:25, Blogger Mike said...

There's no fighting a super-conglomerate. Resistance is futile. The machines have taken over and you are nothing.

At 7/2/07 17:21, Blogger Jess said...

I just love this post. I mean it. I do.

At 7/2/07 17:22, Blogger Jess said...

I just love this post. I mean it. I do.


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