Fred Posner

Kamailio, VoIP, Rants, and More

Menu Close

American Express / Non-American Call Center

Today, I attempted to use my American Express card as a replacement for an old card that had expired. I entered the card info, hit “renew,” and was told it was declined.

Within a minute, I received an automated phone call from a toll-free number. The automated message stated (paraphrasing here) that this was the American Express Fraud Department and that I needed to call the 800 number to confirm card activity.

If I hadn’t just made the charge attempt, I think I wouldn’t have called… but in this case… I called and a person (with a very heavy accent) answered, said that this was American Express, and asked for my card number.

Now, I actually believe this was American Express. That being said, this same scenario is textbook scam.

How can you tell the difference? (Short answer is that I don’t know.)

I asked if the call agent was in the United States; he said he was in Bombay, India. He wouldn’t transfer me to the United States, so I thanked him and called the number on the back of my card.

The automated system couldn’t understand me (they never understand Yeni) and I was transferred to a call agent… in the Philippines. They also wouldn’t (or couldn’t) transfer me to a call center in the United States.

After a few more attempts I reached a call center in the USA… who was unable to get me to a fraud specialist outside of India.

At one point, I asked “Isn’t this American Express?”

He politely let me know that American Express was a global company, servicing many outside the United States.

I get it. I really get it — hell, I have many clients that operate call centers. There is only one reason to outsource a call center outside the United States. Money.

American Express has a duty to it’s shareholders… but then again… it’s a company that’s benefited greatly by the United States (again… it’s American Express). As a merchant, I know AmEx charges American businesses twice what other cards charge for processing a payment.

The least they can do is keep jobs here in the USA.

As for my card? It’s unresolved. AmEx says it’s for my security that I talk to someone in India. I say it’s not.

Fred Posner provides VoIP consulting services through The Palner Group and LOD.com. In 2010, Fred and his wife, Yeni Monroy, opened Bearkery, in Gainesville, Florida. Contact Fred at qxork.com. Even better, make Yeni happy and buy a cookie!