About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

AmEx AmScum

So I'm looking over a change in account terms for my AmEx card and see some new language on telephone communication.

If I call AmEx from any # for any reason, they want to consider this to be permission to inundate that phone # with "special marketing offers."  It can be my land line.  Or my cell line.  It can be a friend's phone # or a relative's phone # if I'm traveling and my card stops working while I'm visiting John-Boy Bilmes.  "any number you give us or from which you call us, including mobile phones."  They can call.  They can send me text messages.  They make it very clear that I "agree to pay any fees or charges you incur for incoming calls or text messages without reimbursement."

Furthermore, I can't ask them if they call to remove me from their calling list.  Oh no, the only way to do this is to go and log on to their web site.  That way, I can stop getting phone calls only if I give them my e-mail address.  Then they can send marketing to that.

And I've gotten marketing e-mails from them.  Reputable e-mailers have a clear easy "unsubscribe" link.  AmEx does not.  You can go to a page to contact customer service, you can click thru to their privacy policy, you can't just click and unsubscribe.

So what AmEx is saying is that they don't care about my time, my privacy, my phone #, my e-mail, anything, other than that they want to do anything and everything they can to circumvent federal law regarding Do Not Call lists and e-mail marketing, and they want to bother me as much as they can and make it as hard as they can for me to get it to stop.

If you don't like this, if you have an AmEx card, please do as I've just done and write to

Kenneth I. Chenault
American Express Co.
World Financial Center
200 Vesey St.
New York, NY  10285
or call 212-640-2000 and ask to speak to Kenneth.

This is the kind of thing that we never notice, because who reads the fine print of their credit card agreement or of the frequent Notice of Changes they hide on page 8 of the bill.  It's the kind of thing reputable companies shouldn't do.  It's the kind of thing that maybe they won't do if enough people complain.

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