Why is AmEx pushing this?

graywings123November 23, 2009

I called American Express today hoping to track down a sales receipt from a few months ago. The guy on the other end of the line spent a lot of time trying to talk me into agreeing to an option for an extended payment plan for purchases over $100.

He segwayed into it by commenting on how many points I had acquired over the years, how many tickets I could buy to cross the country, then quickly explained the program and that I would get 2,500 AmEx points for signing on. Then he started quickly reading the "fine print" with the interest rate and such. I, meanwhile, was looking to politely end the conversation since I was focused on the problem I had called about in the first place, and told him that. He kept trying to get me to agree to this. I finally just said no.

My question is: why is AmEx trying so hard to get me on board with this? Does it have to do with the new credit card rules coming into effect? If I correctly understand my AmEx plan now, I have to pay it in full each month, which I do.

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

They want interest...plain and simple. They 'know' you are a good customer by now, so they now want you to buy more than what you can comfortably be able to pay for at the end of the month. They think they are 'smart' to try and talk some not so smart customers into 'tricking' them into having to pay interest.

Sue

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 5:10PM
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christine

My guess is the customer service rep also gets a commission. So depending how pushy the individual rep is, that could also make a big difference.

I called my own company, told the rep I worked there, and she still tried to sell me identity theft insurance. The only difference is I felt the need to be gracious and hear her out even though I had no intention of buying the stuff...

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 6:42PM
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sushipup1

Okay, get a spine, Why did you listen to the whole spiel? You must have lots of time on your hands.

My recommended script is like this:

You: "I want a receipt from last September, transaction for $25 on 9/15/09 at Casa de Nachos."

Reply: "Certainly I can do that, but let me tell you about this new program..."

You: "I want a receipt from last September, transaction for $25 on 9/15/09 at Casa de Nachos."

Reply, "yes, but this new program..."

You: "I want a receipt from last September, transaction for $25 on 9/15/09 at Casa de Nachos."

Next time around, remind the salesman that you do not have time to waste, will never buy anything they are trying to sell you, and only want to complete your request for a receipt.

Repeat as necessary.

Do NOT listen to their drivel.

Sorry, it's a real pet peeve of mine----why do people think they have to be "polite" to a sales pitch? Repeat your request in a polite voice, but your time is top valuable to waste, even if you are retired.

And as for calls that you get at home? Hang up. You have no obligation to do business with anyone over the phone. You don't even need to hear who they are. Hang up. If it's real and important, they will call back. But I wil guarantee that 99.9% will not call back.

Hang up as soon as you know it's not Aunt Betty calling, but a stranger. Don't bother even explaining yourself. Hang up.

I feel like Arlo Guthrie in Alice's Restaurant.... if everyone hangs up, folk will think it's a movement can even hum a few bars of Alice's Restaurant as you are hanging up.

There, I feel better now.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 8:32PM
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weed30

Amen, sushipup. I have come to expect some kind of sales pitch before, during, or after whatever it was I called for. I now interrupt them and say "Pardon me for interrupting. I know you are required to pitch this amazing deal, but I can assure you that unless you are including a $5,000.00 cash rebate within 5 business days if I sign up, I am not interested." Seems to work pretty well ;)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 9:58PM
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Meghane

I hope to hear Alice's Restaurant at some point this Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday song, and that includes Christmas carols. It *especially* includes Christmas carols LOL!

One of my friends did a telemarketing stint. He'd rather you just hang up or cut him off so he could get to the next caller who may be more of a sucker than you. So be polite to a telemarketer- HANG UP!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 11:12PM
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bethesdamadman

As chemocurl mentioned, AmEx is trying to get good customers to pay interest. However, there is nothing wrong with agreeing to sign up for the program. You get 2500 free points and you are under no obligation to ever pay any interest. When you receive your monthly bill, there will just be a notation for the total amount of purchases that are eligible for deferred payment. However, all you do is just write a check for the total amount as you do now. Nothing changes other than the extra 2500 points in your Membership Rewards account.

There's really no downside to this.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 4:14AM
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alphacat

sushpup has a good suggestion, of course; but I have had the experience of having a rep tell me, in effect: "I will not deal with your request until after you have listened to my entire sales pitch without interrupting. I'm sorry, but that's our policy, and there is nothing I can do about it."

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 12:15PM
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sushipup1

Alphacat, that's good for one complaint to his supervisor, asking to speak to the supervisor directly, and singing a few choruses of Alice's Restaurant as he goes thru the spiel. And tell the rep that you will be canceling this account (if possible) as soon as the matter is resolved. Get his name and extension number and cite him as the cause for you canceling the account.

Folks, if we all act like sheep, things will never change. What we need here is a MOVEMENT, as Arlo would say.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 12:34PM
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bethesdamadman

sushipup: "And as for calls that you get at home? Hang up. You have no obligation to do business with anyone over the phone. You don't even need to hear who they are. Hang up. If it's real and important, they will call back. But I wil guarantee that 99.9% will not call back."

Okay, I'm going to go off on a tangent here. Why in this day and age does anyone still have a home phone? Talk about a complete waste of money....

No phone, no sales calls.

End of problem.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 4:12PM
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sushipup1

Because we live in the sticks, have no cable, but we can get DSL, and we get lousy cell signals in the boonies, and even zero cell coverage with a number of systems like Metro PCS and AT&T. We're not the only people in the world in this situation, you know.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 4:30PM
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western_pa_luann

"Okay, I'm going to go off on a tangent here. Why in this day and age does anyone still have a home phone? Talk about a complete waste of money...."

Not a waste of money.... and really, why should you care?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 4:40PM
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graywings123

Thanks for the responses. Please be assured that my vertebrae are intact and functioning in all respects. I don't have a problem shutting down a sales pitch that I am not interested in, but 1) in my experience, Amex is less sleazy and pushy than other credit card companies, so I give them more leeway; 2) I had called with an extra-ordinary request, and although they could not accommodate me, the guy was helpful with suggestions in other directions; and 3) I apparently encouraged him by asking about hidden fees. It was only at the point that he was reading paragraphs of legal mumbo that I realized I just wanted to get back to the problem at hand.

So, thanks for the advice, but my point in posting here was simply to find out if this offer was in any way linked to the new credit card laws. To those who responded on point, THANKS!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 6:58PM
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sushipup1

Sorry, Graywings, I apologize. It's just such a pet peeve of mine. Maybe it deserves its own thread instead of hijacking yours.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 8:30PM
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cmarlin20

Why in this day and age does anyone still have a home phone?

I still have one because I use it for my fax machine. I know I can scan and send or receive via my computer, but so far it is too much of a hassle.
I keep looking at options, but haven't a good one yet.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 10:18PM
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bethesdamadman

"Because we live in the sticks, have no cable, but we can get DSL, and we get lousy cell signals in the boonies, and even zero cell coverage with a number of systems like Metro PCS and AT&T. We're not the only people in the world in this situation, you know."

Cell service is not necessary. You can use VoIP.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 7:01AM
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bethesdamadman

luann: "Not a waste of money.... and really, why should you care?"

Since the OP's question had been answered and the thread had evolved into a general discussion on how to handle sales cales, I was suggesting a solution to that problem. No landline phone = no annoying sales calls.

And it is a waste of money and a dying industry.

Soon, they will go the way of pay phones and phone booths.

Most Gen Y's don't have them. In another generation, they will be gone entirely.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 7:18AM
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cmarlin20

My problem is, I do get marketing calls on my cell phone. I get recorded messages on my line.
I do have my cell number on the do not call list. I've tried to call the number to tell them not to call me, I've left a message. Time will tell if it works.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 10:38AM
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cocontom

I have to say that it's just awful to give the person's name and extension as the reason you're canceling whatever- that could get them fired.

I agree I don't want to deal with it, and I do complain- but it's the company's fault, not the person answering the phones. Even if they don't have a script they have a set number of points they have to bring up in a specified amount of time.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 3:43AM
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azmom

I totally agree with cocontom.

It makes little sense to be so contentious when dealing with this type of calls as some have suggested. These front line workers only follow their companies' policies or work place procedures, most of them are low pay workers who do not make these decisions, and have no power to change them.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 5:59AM
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cindyb_va

Amex did not call the customer, the customer called Amex, so whether or not there was an old fashioned "home phone" is rather a moot point.

I am a big fan of Amex and I have sometimes called them for copies of receipts or general questions and I always get some sort of sales pitch. I simply thank them for the info about the new service and ask them to send me a brochure explaining the service, along with interest rates, etc. because (and I learned this from Mom), "I do not sign up for new services over the phone".

It does no good to request a superior, because the superior is the one responsible to insure that the new product is pushed as often as possible by the call center staff. If the customer service rep is rude, definitely ask to speak to a boss, but if you are expecting a boss to prevent the CSR from trying to sell you a product, keep dreaming.

Amex is doing this to try to get customers to revolve purchases and to get them to start using their Amex cards instead of MC/VISA when they revolve credit. I like the fact that Amex wants payment in full every month and, for me, 2,500 measly air miles would not be enough incentive to sign up for this plan. Now, 25,000 and I might pay attention.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 8:01AM
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sushipup1

I still say that the company needs to have feedback about why you do not want to hear the sales pitch.

Yes, I have Firefox Adblock on my computer, I toss the newspaper ads out before I even bring the paper into the house, and I fast-forward thru all TiVO'd commercials, too.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 9:53AM
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dreamgarden

I know this thread is about annoying sales pitches from AMX, but it would be interesting to know what other posters would do in this situation:

My sister's elderly MIL and FIL lived in an assisted living community. A few years after they moved in, the FIL developed Alzheimers and had to be admitted into an Alzheimers unit. He insisted on taking his wallet with his AMX card in it. The wallet turned up missing and couldn't not be found. Was it taken by another resident or an employee? No one could be sure so my sister suggested to her MIL that she call AMX and cancel the card. Even though she was his spouse, they refused to allow her to do this. They told her he had to do it himself even after she explained that he was locked up, not in control of his mental faculties and would probably never be able to use the card again.

They didn't care, nor did they even offer to put a fraud alert on the card to prevent unauthorized activity. What was she supposed to do in the meantime?

My sister had to hire a lawyer to help her straighten this out.

I think it is disgusting and reprehensible that AMX would do something like this to an old woman who was already suffering the loss of her life companion. It is almost like they expected the card to be used and would then bill her for whatever the thief might charge.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 8:58AM
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hendricus

Very interesting. You have to learn to lie more.

FIL passed away in 09 and MIL moved to assisted living from their home of 50+ yrs. Son went to cancel cable TV and was told a death certificate was neccessary plus he had to come to the office to fill out forms. For cable???? give me a break.

I called them the following week and took my FIL's name and said I wanted to cancel 'cause we were moving to assisted living. They said no problem and where do we send the final bill. Paid the bill and never heard anymore.

Get a male friend or relative to front for you and cancel the account. Since your MIL is the spouse she should have all the information--card numbers, SS#, birthdates, passwords.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 10:31AM
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cindyb_va

For what it's worth, once Amex has been notified that the card is missing, the card holder (or his family) is not liable for any fraudulent charges. That is the law. Whether Amex decides to act on the information is up to them, but they cannot bill the cardholder for further charges once they have been notified.

In a situation like this, I would have sent an additional notification in writing, so I had documentation that Amex was notified.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 5:32PM
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cearbhaill

If a spouse is in that bad a shape someone needs Power of Attorney for 100 other reasons, never mind canceling a credit card.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 4:29PM
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andrelaplume2

think of how miserable the person who has this job must be. Just politely listen to their drivvle then say your not interested and move on.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 9:49PM
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kframe19

"Why in this day and age does anyone still have a home phone? Talk about a complete waste of money...."

Because a cell phone calling plan would cost me a LOT more than the home phone bundled plan I have with Verizon Fios.

That and the fact that I use my cell phone only when I travel and on other rare occasions.

I don't WANT to be available 24x7x365 to anyone who has my phone number.

I don't WANT to walk around 24x7x365 with a phone screwed to my ear.

I'm not that interested in talking to anyone. If I do want to talk to someone, I'll call them from my home phone.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 12:19PM
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sushipup1

Oh, KFrame, you said it for me, too! Well said.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 12:27PM
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stolenidentity

To the OP - AmEx wants you to pay interest on your purchases. I hope you were able to get hold of the receipt you were calling for.

To bethesdamadman who asked "Okay, I'm going to go off on a tangent here. Why in this day and age does anyone still have a home phone? Talk about a complete waste of money...." - What an incredibly unhelpful and ignorant comment! Talk about a complete waste of..... um, I think I'll take my tangent elsewhere!!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 3:29PM
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