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Here's a copy of a letter I've already sent but heard nothing back on:

October 3, 2013

American Express

P.O. Box 981540

El Paso, TX 79998-1540

Re: Parking Meter Ticket Dispute

To Whom It May Concern:

On Friday September 13, 2013, I put $1.25 into a parking meter in my home city of Los Angeles, using my Delta Gold American Express Card. By all Amex records (but none visible to me any longer online), this is documented/true. Then, when the bill was actually posted (no longer pending) days later, LA City Parking Meter took only 0.25 cents from my card. I called Amex to discuss and dispute this charge – it should’ve been $1.25 – after I received a $63 parking ticket for not feeding enough to the meter.

When I first called Amex on the 13th, I talked to someone who assured me that minutes past 2pm I put $1.25 in the meter. When I called again after I received my Amex bill, I spoke with Amanda who confirmed she could see the $1.25 charge I put on my card, but that it appeared L.A. only took 25 cents. So she agreed to send a letter to them disputing the charge and stating that I in fact paid the amount due. Dispute Reference # 31325. She told me that the city would have it in time for me to work out the ticket problem.

I don’t know if that letter ever went out, but apparently the 25 cents was credited back to me. This was no intention of anyone’s and doesn’t help me in any way, except that I now have an extra quarter with which to do laundry that I don’t even deserve. I have a hearing scheduled in person on October 21st with the City of Los Angeles to dispute my parking ticket. I called Amex today to get a copy of the physical proof that, as you know, I charged $1.25 to my card but the city’s meter only took 25 cents. 18 minutes spent mostly on hold, followed by a second 54-minute phone call could not make that happen. Despite numerous conversations, confirmation on your end that this is indeed what happened and that it is through no fault of my own that this ticket to me has been issued, two men told me that they are not able to provide proof of this even though they can see it in front of them. So, we can talk about it on the phone, but they cannot email or physically mail this proof we’ve spoken of. In other words, I’m screwed.

My own online account, what’s visible to me, only shows the $0.25 charge on 9/13. Your records show the truth. But 54 minutes of talking can’t get that truth in writing. Bani (spelling?) suggested I have the people at the hearing call Merchant Services.

Now, I don’t normally spend time in court, but I’ve seen enough Law & Order episodes to know that judges don’t go calling credit card company 800 numbers during proceedings, even if I provide my social and my mother’s maiden name.

I normally consider, as many people do, American Express to be a very respectable company and one that has great customer service. I have literally said aloud that the New York Times and American Express have the best customer service of any business I’ve used in the country. This request of mine, to me, seems incredibly reasonable. I tried to charge my card a certain amount, a wrong amount was taken, Amex has proof of this, I would like to see this proof in writing, specifically because I need it for a legal proceeding, and also because it is my card, my charge, my money, my business, my life, etc., but that is, somehow, impossible.

Do you not agree that this is a reasonable need I have? At this point I’ll be going empty-handed into court to tell the city of Los Angeles that I really truly honestly charged more money on my card, swear to God. Maybe if I raise my right hand over the bible and smile pretty they’ll believe me. But you know what would probably work instead? American Express providing that proof instead of just talking to me about it on the phone.

Since you flat out refuse to do this, which is ABSURD, I’ve canceled both of my American Express cards, including my Blue card, which I’ve held for years. I want the reward/cash back money I’d accrued on that account. If it needs to go to pay off my Delta Gold Amex, so be it, but I earned that, and I want it, and I deserve it. I will also likely not be refunded the $63 that the City of Los Angeles charged me for not paying enough to my parking meter. I’ll be asking for that from you, as well.

54 minutes. 54 minutes for you to say to me, “you’re a valuable customer, you’re right, the truth is right in front of us, it’s indisputable, and we know you need it to prove your innocence in a hearing, but we can only send out pre-written letters to customers. We can run a multi-million-dollar global business, but we can’t print out what’s on a screen and mail it to you. Oh well, sorry, Alison, even though we’ve spent 54 MINUTES TALKING ABOUT IT, we can’t actually do anything but send pointless form letters to you instead of documents you could actually use, silly. Who do you think we are, customer service? What do you think this is, the 21st century?” This is one of the craziest things that has ever happened to me with a company. In case you don’t remember, you’re American Express. Of course you can do this – you can do anything. YOU’RE AMERICAN EXPRESS.

I really loved American Express. I recently went to the US Open in New York and was excited to be a card member to enjoy the perks there, and I know the numerous other benefits that come with having the card(s). At least I thought I did.

Thanks for nothing.



Product or Service Mentioned: American Express Credit Card.

Monetary Loss: $63.

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oh for crying out loud, sixty three bucks and you go through all this? :p

As a customer service rep for American Express, I can tell you that we sit around the office all day and laugh at you!

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