“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

Ad Takes on American Express. Ad wins.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

About five years ago I got a platinum American Express for my "business" of Ad Hudler Novelist. The annual cost: About $500. Two important perks that justified the cost: FOUR free companion air-travel tickets each year, and free access to most airport VIP lounges.

Well, the ticket thing was just cancelled ... so I called to cancel my card. It's not worth $500, and we already have platinum personal cards that cover the other benefits.

The phone rep asked me why I wanted to cancel. I told her. She persisted. I persisted. "Just cancel the card, please. You can't change my mind. Really."

"Don't you know you're saving money by having this card?" she asked me.

I replied, "Barbara ... I was never really good in math, but I'm thinking there is a severe flaw in your calculations here. Please cancel the card."

She went on and on about the benefits. I went on and on about how I didn't need them.

Then, she transferred me to a "specialist," which basically meant she knew she couldn't win with me, so it was time for some tag-team action.

Judy, too, was persistent. Judy, too, told me I "couldn't afford" not to have the card. Judy, too, ignored my constant plea to cancel the account.

Transfer to Scott. I'm guessing Scott was the head-guy in the phone bank ... the Gestapo Guy they turn to as a last resort.

AGAIN, I asked him to terminate my card. I tried to do it politely, I really did. But at one point I found myself yelling, "Scott! ... Scott! ... Scott! ... Scott!" over his talking because he wouldn't shut up about the card and how my life would be OVER if I cancelled it.

He simply would not shut up. And I finally had to yell -- and I mean YELL:


Silence for a second, and then: "But you understand you're actually losing money by cancelling this card," he said.

"I'm willing to take that chance, Scott, I really am."

And I hung up, victorious but trembling with rage.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, brother. While our wives deal with certain things we can't comprehend, I am sure this is one they don't get, as they haven't had to.

Aside: I had the SAME experience, I think with MCI years ago. Got to the same point, yelled the same magic word. Looked up and realized I had forgotten my mother-in-law was visiting, and sitting there horrified. Oops.


January 13, 2009 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perry: "I'm sure this is one our wives don't get,as they haven't had too?...." I am a wife, I pay the bills, I cancel the cards when necessary. Ad is talking about a very real, very frustrating problem. I've been there. Right where he is. Most bill-payers have. Well most bill-payers with excellent credit have. CC companies don't want to lose us, and they will FIGHT like donkeys to keep us. LU

January 13, 2009 at 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LU: I feel YOUR pain, too. As I also AM in your situation, exactly. I was talking directly to Ad, as I know (and now you do, too) that he and I are both stay-at-home dads, with high-performing wives. So I AM speaking from the one-who-does-all-the-stuff-at-home perspective. So to clarify, I was not talking about "wives," I was talking about "our wives," the wives of Ad and Perry. And Carol, if I have wronged you, because you too cancel credit cards, sorry. But I know Carolyn does not.

Perry, the stay at home dad

January 13, 2009 at 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if you just hung up after yelling....how do you really know you were victorious? Don't be so sure....

January 13, 2009 at 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Leah. Make sure you get a letter from them stating that the account was closed at your request and the balance is zero. I always do that with all cards.

January 13, 2009 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

Lu and Perry: I'm certainly glad we got that straightened out. Whew!

Leah: OMG! They wouldn't dare .... would they?

January 13, 2009 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Kathy Grey said...

Jeez, Ad, you sure know how to start a lively dialogue!

I have to say, in my former marriage, all 25 years of it, my husband lifted not a finger in the finance department. Example: one of the many times he lost his ATM card, I made him make the call to the bank. He turned to me while talking to customer service: "Do we have a savings account?" I looked at him appropriately and answered.
Seconds later, he asks, "What's our address?" It then struck me hard how clueless I had allowed him to remain as I took control of every single aspect of our home.

Not a proud moment for either of us.

January 14, 2009 at 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, you probably need verbal confirmation from someone that you are canceling on some sort of recorded line to actually have them cancel your account. I always ask for everything in writing.

I worked for AOL Tech Support right when one of the cancellation people straight out refused to cancel someone's account. The aggrieved person recorded the exchange and it hit the news. If you don't receive anything about your cancellation in the mail in the next few weeks, I would call back.

January 14, 2009 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger chrisgraves said...

I think anytime you can yell: FUCK at a credit card company AND get your way you ought to do a little jig!

-- graves

January 15, 2009 at 9:03 PM  

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