2009-07-08 webmail to Amex

From HypertWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

to Amex

It appears that we will not be able to make the minimum payment on this card this month. We are wondering if there are any "financial hardship" payment arrangements you would be willing to make.

In our case, we have been experiencing repeated delays in trying to arrange residential services for Sandy's autistic son, Josh -- his needs (and the time/effort required to fight the state's mental healthcare bureaucracy) have gradually squashed our income-earning ability down to almost nothing, and Sandy is now very much in a classic "spiraling debt" situation as a result.

I will be happy to provide additional details and answer any questions you might have -- email is best.

Thank you,

Nick Staddon

from Amex (7/9)

Response (Bishal Rai) 07/09/2009 12:46 AM
Dear Sandra Hall,

You recently e-mailed us regarding your American Express account. We recognize that this must be a difficult time for you.

We may have a solution that will help you resolve your debt with American Express. We would like to assist you via-e-mail, but in order to tailor a potential plan to your situation we must speak with you. Please contact our Account Services Group directly at

1-800-230-1284 and/or 1-800-235-1709 (24 hours a day - 7 days a week). From outside the United States, please call collect at 1-336-393-1111.

Thank you again for allowing us to assist you.

Sincerely,

Bishal Rai
Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

comments

Oh well, guess that's a dead end. --Woozle 13:06, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

to Amex(7/24)

I have sent in a token payment of $50, as that is all we can spare right now.

Unfortunately, calling you is not really an option for us. We both have severe phone phobia, and this is the sort of call for which I would need a great deal of mental calmness and preparation in order to make, so it's not likely to happen given the current chaos in our lives (which is also the biggest contributor to Sandy's financial mess).

However, if you would be willing to call us, I should be able to talk with you. (This avoids all the phone-tree navigation and having to explain who we are and why we're calling, which is a large part of the phobia.) 919-627-8595 is probably the best number.

Thank you,

Nick Staddon, on behalf of Sandy Hall

comments

The above number is our new Google Voice number, which gives us the option to record conversations when it picks up. (Unfortunately it also announces "recording on" to both parties when we do this, which is required by laws I don't agree with, so it may not be something we can use to keep a record of more casual conversations. Feh.) --Woozle 11:38, 24 July 2009 (EDT)

from Amex (7/25)

Dear Sandra L Hall,

Thank you for your follow up email.

Please be assured that we have received your payment in the amount of $50.00.

Additionally, please note that I contacted our Account Services Department on your behalf today regarding the information provided in your e-mail. However, our Account Services Department needs to speak with you directly regarding this matter, as this will ensure your account privacy and security. Regrettably, they do not communicate through e-mail therefore, I cannot forward your inquiry to them. However, our Account Services Department will be glad to assist you with an immediate resolution regarding this matter.

Therefore, I would request you to contact our Account Services department at 1-800-230-1284 and/or 1-800-235-1709 (24 hours a day - 7 days a week). From outside the United States, please call collect at 1-336-393-1111.

We appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter.

Sincerely,

Sakshi Datta
Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

to Amex (7/26, late)

Someone needs to get your Account Services Department connected via email. I can assure you that our account privacy and security are protected perfectly well by the fact that these messages are being sent via your web server, as evidenced by the fact that I am able to use this same method to communicate with you -- said communications including sensitive information such as account numbers.

I will call if I can, but I very much doubt it will happen anytime soon. As I said, we are both highly averse to difficult phone calls, and this sort of call ranks near the top.

Since you were able to relay to them the information I provided to you earlier, perhaps you can relay to them the information that (a) they really need email, and (b) they do have the option of calling us, but (c) we are probably not going to call them.

Thank you,

Nick Staddon, for Sandy Hall

from Amex (7/27, due date of bill)

I truly understand your concern regarding this matter and however, unfortunately, our Account Services Department do not currently have an email channel to receive or respond to your inquiry, so you would need to telephone them at 1-800-230-1284 (24 hours a day - 7 days a week) so they can immediately assist you. If you are outside the United States, please call collect at 1-336-393-1111.

If there is any other way in which I may be of assistance, please contact me.

Sincerely,

Simmi Bhasin
Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

to Amex (7/27)

Is it possible that you could explain to me why the Account Services Department at American Express does not have email? This would seem like a very basic requirement for any component of a large corporation doing significant business electronically.

Thank you,

Nick Staddon, for Sandy Hall

from Amex (7/27)

Response (S.Bhasin) 07/27/2009 02:49 PM
Dear Sandra Hall,

I do agree to your concern regarding this matter and therefore, have forwarded a feedback to the appropriate managers that our Account Services Department should have email capabilities. We may contact you if additional information is required.

I sincerely apologize for all the inconvenience you have experienced so far.

Sincerely,

Simmi Bhasin
Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

comments

Wow, an actually sensible, non-canned response! My hope for humanity goes up a small notch.

to Amex (8/9)

Hi. We have not yet heard anything from your Account Services Department, and it appears that American Express has suspended charging on both of our American Express accounts (including one which is and was current).

Please inform them that they need to contact us as soon as possible so that we can work out some kind of hardship payment arrangement.

I would be willing to call your Account Services Department if you can give me the direct number and extension of someone who is familiar with the situation, including this message, and is ready to make some kind of offer -- though I would much rather see something in writing, so I can read it at leisure and think before responding.

Please also pass the following information to Account Services --

The circumstance is this: we have been dealing with trying to get services for Sandy's profoundly autistic teenage son, Josh. Caring for him has made it impossible for either of us to hold down a job, and Sandy and her three children are living entirely on $2000/month supplied by her mother. This is just barely sufficient to pay their basic expenses, so all it took was one large expense to start a spiral of debt; the spiral has been going on for several years now and has survived two attempts to solve it with debt-consolidation mortgages. The Amex Blue was the largest balance, so it was the first to reach the point where she could not come up with the monthly minimum.

Once Josh is in a group home and no longer requires so much of our attention, we will have at least a fighting chance of getting caught up, though I do not expect it to be easy A third mortgage refinance at today's rates comes *close* to resolving everything, but still leaves Sandy short by a few hundred per month -- which we could easily fill if we weren't dealing with Josh. Until then, though, I do not see anything that we can do other than keep working towards that group home. (At this point, a new Medicaid application is ready to go in on Monday, and then Medicaid can take up to 45 days to process it -- at which point we resume the search for a placement.)

Although Sandy's debt is continuing to mount, she could continue making payments on the Costco Amex card for many more months and should be able to continue paying some token amount towards the Amex Blue card -- but $850 is simply not available (without, say, transferring cash from some other card at an impractically high rate of interest, thus accelerating the spiral); she has only been able to keep up this far by making use of savings and windfalls, but her mutual funds are now long gone and we seem to have run out of lucky circumstances. I can't see any way to even catch up with last month's minimum, much less the $2100+ minimum on this month's statement.

The only remaining option is to cash in Sandy's HH bonds, which could keep things afloat for another few months but would only take a chunk out of her Amex Blue balance and would barely make a dent in her overall debt -- and in any case cannot be done quickly.

We would very much like to keep this situation from escalating any further, but we need to establish communication with someone who is able to offer some kind of terms because Sandy simply does not have the liquid funds to meet the current minimum on the Amex Blue card..

Thank you,

Nick Staddon, for Sandy Hall

from Amex (8/10)

Response (S.Bhasin) 08/10/2009 10:46 AM
Dear Sandra Hall,

Thank you for your follow up email.

As our Account Services Department does not have an email channel, therefore, I am unable to forward your email to them. However, I have noted your account records with the information you provided.

For making some possible payment arrangements on your Card account, please call our Account Services Department at 1-800-678-0738 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). From outside the United States, please call collect at 1-336-393-1111. A representative can give you assistance with this matter.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Sincerely,

Simmi Bhasin
Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

to Amex (8/11)

Why do they still not have email? Do they have computers? Are those computers connected to a network? Is that network somehow totally isolated from the Internet?

If you do not have this information, could you please put me in touch with someone who does?

Also: someone called from 1-888-892-6180 and left a message saying that Sandy needed to call back, but did not identify herself (the Caller ID said only "800 service", so we didn't pick up). The same person called Sandy's mother, who answered the phone; that caller did identify herself as Susan Marlowe from American Express. Googling that number, however, seems to indicate that this is not American Express at all but a phishing scam -- can you please check this?

Please let me know if that is a legitimate AmEx number. Thank you.

from Amex(8/12)

Response (Gaurav Sarwal) 08/12/2009 04:10 AM
Dear Sandra L Hall,

I would like to inform you that due to security polices and procedures our Account Services Department does not have an email channel. Therefore, I request you to call our Account Services Department at 1-800-678-0738 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). From outside the United States, please call collect at 1-336-393-1111.

I would also like to inform you that our Account Services Department is specialized department in making possible payment arrangements. They may help you with the best payment arrangements and we request you to contact them.

As far as the number is concerned, I wish to inform you that unfortunately, we are unable to determine if the call you received is legitimate. Therefore, I have forwarded the number to the concerned department and if they require any additional information they may contact you.

If we can be of service in any other way in the future, please contact us.

Sincerely,

Gaurav Sarwal
Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

to Amex(8/12)

Yes, we are well aware that they do not have one. I was asking (1) *why* they do not have one, and (2) if you do not have this information, please to put me in contact with someone who does.

If you are unable to answer these questions, please pass them on to your supervisor rather than sending me another pre-written response. Th/ank you.

from Amex (8/13)

Dear Sandra L Hall,

I am a manager with the Email Servicing Team.

I'm afraid I do not have a specific reason as to why our Account Services Department does not communicate via email. This channel is currently only available for general customer service inquiries, and we are looking to provide this service across most of our departments in the near future.

Please let me know if I can help you in any other way.

Sincerely,

Jitendra Punjabi
Manager, Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

to Amex (8/19)

Thanks for your reply.

I have now paid the minimum on the Costco Amex card, which was past due -- at the time it was due, we did not have the money, but Sandy cashed out the last of her savings account (about $500) so was able to pay it belatedly.

Unfortunately, the Amex web site will not let me make a token payment towards the Blue Card -- it will *only* let me pay the minimum -- so I have not been able to make any payment at all towards that. We would have made a token payment of $50 if the site had allowed that, but we simply do not have $2000+ on hand.

Also, I mailed a letter regarding Sandy's financial hardship situation to American Express on August 12, and USPS has stated that it was delivered on August 14. Can you confirm that it has been received by the Account Services Department? Here is how I addressed it:

ACCOUNT SERVICES DEPARTMENT
AMERICAN EXPRESS
PO BOX 981540
EL PASO TX 79998-1540

Please confirm whether this letter has been received and routed to the appropriate person.

Thank you,

Nick Staddon, for Sandy Hall

to Amex, correction (8/19)

A correction to my previous email: it looks like the only reason I could not select anything other than the minimum payment of $2000+ was that the site requires the bank account to be selected first.

Also, I now see a message which I did not see before, which says "We will evaluate your account for restoration of your charging privileges when payment is made for at least $797.00. Note this amount does not reflect payments made since 08-06-2009."

I will send in a token payment of $50 right now, and then see if it will be possible to send in anything more.

Thank you,

Nick Staddon for Sandy Hall

from Amex (8/20)

Dear Nick Staddon,

Thank you for your email.

We have received the documents that you sent. Please have the Basic Cardmember speak with them directly at 1-800-592-1160 (24 hours/7 days). From outside the United States, please have her call collect at 1-336-393-1111.

If we can be of further assistance, please contact us.

Sincerely,

Jitendra Punjabi Manager, Email Servicing Team: American Express Interactive Services:

comments

Finally addressed to me instead of Sandy -- but totally ignored the whole "we really don't want to call you" thing. That's okay, though; we got a credit transfer offer...

to Amex (8/20)

Fortuitously, Sandy just received a low-interest-rate balance transfer option from one of her other credit cards, so I have used that to pay $3000 towards the Blue Card, which should take care of this month's minimum. We should be able to use the same offer to pay next month's Blue Card bill. The offer runs out at the end of September, however, so we may be back in the same boat two billing cycles from now -- but we are expecting some possible changes to our situation by then, so it may be that we will be able to keep up by then.

I will contact you again if it looks like Sandy will have to be late on another payment.

Please emphasize to your Account Services Department that they really need some form of electronic communication. This would, I believe, save American Express a lot of money in the long run due to improved ability to communicate with those in positions such as ours.

Please let me know if the $3000 payment does not arrive within 72 hours.

Thank you,

Nick Staddon, for Sandy Hall

from Amex (8/21)

Dear Dear Nick Staddon,,

Thank you for your e-mail.

I have noted our records with your payment information.

Also, I have forwarded your feedback to our Account Services Department.

You may check your account within the next 72 hours to see whether the payment has posted.

If we can be of further assistance, please contact us.

Sincerely,

Jitendra Punjabi
Manager, Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

to Amex (8/22)

I checked with Chase to see why the transfer had not gone through, and apparently they declined the request -- so Amex will not be receiving a payment of $3000 as I had hoped, and we are back to where we were before.

If your Account Services Department can respond to us in writing either via email (preferred) or ground mail, *or* if you can confirm that the people who have been calling us claiming to be from American Express are in fact from American Express (phone numbers: 210-232-3974, 866-231-9049, 888-892-6180) then it is possible we could have a meaningful dialogue and work something out.

Barring that, however, I do not see how we can do anything more than continue to pay $50 monthly as a token gesture.

Thank you,

Nick Staddon, for Sandy Hall

from Amex (8/22)

Dear Nick Staddon,

I have noted the Card Account with this information. Our Account Services department would have access these notes on the Account.

The numbers mentioned in your email belongs to the Account Services department. you may call them directly to discuss the payment plan.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Vishal Bhartiya
Manager, Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

comments

Okay, if those numbers are really Amex, then:

  1. Why aren't they calling the number we left on file with Amex?
  2. Where are they getting the other numbers from?
  3. Why did they call Harena's mother?
  4. How did they get Harena's mother's phone number??
  5. Why does the caller ID identify the caller in one case as "Cell Phone TX"?