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.


Joel 2014-05-26 Reply

I agree with you for not resolving your AmEx situation. And these days you can’t be too careful.

I always enjoy your blog Fred! Keep them coming!

Cynthia Perry 2016-08-26 Reply

Just had another issue with AMEX..guess you CAN NOT talk to anyone in US. I kept getting the outsourced center in the Phiillipines!! Do you know of any # that gets me to a US representative??

Fred Posner 2016-08-30 Reply

No. In fact, they refused to let me talk with someone in the US. I’ve long since cancelled the card and have been very happy with that decision.

Mark Fink 2016-10-08 Reply

Good for you! They outsource to Gurgaon India, Philippines and Malaysia. This began ramping up outsourcing after they shut down their Greensboro North Carolina call center 5 years ago and won a lawsuit against them and BofA for outsourcing. Most calls get bounced around 4 to 8 times, have static, and the reps don’t have a clue about what they are doing. The service has sunk to a level so far that they lost JD Power for the last 2 years to Discover Card which uses US based employees. It is important Americans boycottt companies that outsource American jobs to India and Philippines. Call them IndiaExpress.

Daisy 2017-03-10 Reply

Just tried to get an American Agent and after 6 calls to different numbers I finally got to someone who was in Florida – supposedly. I did not detect any Philipino or Indian accent. After I informed them the reason for my call, the woman I was speaking to suddenly says my account is on hold because they had received “some mail” back that they had sent me. She could not tell what mail or any further information and wanted my address which I refused to give her as I became suspicious of the situation since I receive mail from AMEX regularly. I asked to speak to a supervisor who told me there was no apt. no. on my a/c. Odd since as I say I have been getting mail from them. She told me she would not jeopardize her job by giving me any more information. We were at a stalemate so I gave her the apt. only and she said my a/c was not on hold. As far as I’m concerned this whole outsourcing business is out of control and very dangerous. As people have noted, when you call you never know if you are really speaking to AMEX or some scammer. Never mind that they are very rude.

robert williams 2017-08-01 Reply

There is nothing AMERICAN about AMERICAN EXPRESS anymore. Gold Card member since 1969. 99% of the time you will get India, Philippines and if you are really lucky Mexico. They need to change the name of the company to MEXICAN EXPRESS. I cancelled my Gold Card and now I am going to cancel my “Plum” card (business). Global Company my ask, they are simply cheap and would rather pay $400/month for employees than $400/week.

Nancy Lombardi 2018-09-11 Reply

I used to absolutely LOVE carrying my AMEX card. I carried it for 19 years. There was prestige mixed with a feeling of safety having American Express. If I had a problem, American Express had my back……….That was then and those days are long gone. I am in the middle of a dispute with a hotel and American Express is practically acting like they do not care. Almost sounds like I’ve lost already! Call was outsourced, (Shocker) every time. Each time I called I had to start from the beginning. I asked to have the letter about the dispute mailed to me via the USPO. They said they would. They didn’t. It’s just a sad state of affairs when you see a company that was GOLDEN, March down mediocre lane, with the rest of them. Win or lose this dispute Im done with American Express and will definitely be leaving home without it.

Marsharena Lee 2020-08-12 Reply

I have been experiencing this for the past few days. I want to know, why the hell would you (American Express) have a call center in a totally different country than where your customers are located? It makes no sense, repeating oneself over & over & over & over just to get a point across, to someone that does not understand you is frustrating, to say the least. Fix it!

Cynthia Perry 2020-09-06 Reply

Again..called..outscored to Indua..
Guy actually hacked a fur ball while talking to me.

Will not cancel my card..but done with amex

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