I love my American Express card. I have the platinum one thanks to Todd, which has a lot of cool benefits like being able to go into airport lounges and such.
However, they always seem to freeze my account when I travel. Last year, when I went to Tokyo, Todd and I ate at a baller Kobe beef restaurant in Kobe. We went to pay and both of our Amexes got declined. Ouch.
We called from a payphone across from the restaurant and they finally fixed it.
Last month the same thing happened in Panama. I tried to call and fix it, explaining that this always happens, and they finally squared it away. In between my international calls dropping, I shot off a quick e-mail to their support.
My credit card was declined for $30 at a supermarket here in Panama City. I specifically called a week ago to note on my account that I'm traveling internationally and do not want my card to be "frozen" for any reason at all.
I have spent hours trying to resolve this issue, and it has been extremely frustrating since it is difficult to make calls from here.
Here's their reply:
Thank you for contacting us via e-mail.
Please accept my sincere apology for the service that you recently received. I understand that in this matter, we did not provide a level of service that was acceptable to you. We strive to provide the best customer service, and I have forwarded your concerns about this matter to the appropriate managers.
As a more tangible expression of our concern over this issue, we have issued credit in the amount of $150.00 to your account. I hope this assures you that we value you as a customer and appreciate your business.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
We appreciate your Membership since 2002 and look forward to serving you in the future.
Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services
Wow! Talk about above and beyond. I didn't request any sort of credit, but they gave me one anyway. A couple years ago I bought a $2000 laptop with my Amex, and then left it out in the rain a week later. They refunded the money with minimal hassle.
In other words - I love American Express and will do everything in my power to promote them.
Six months ago I decided to move from shared hosting to a dedicated server. I don't get loads of traffic, but on the rare occasions I get dugg or something like that, I need the capability. Plus I'm a geek so I was basically just looking for an excuse to get a dedicated server.
I'm embarassed to admit it, but I didn't do enough research and I went with Hostgator.com. They had great reviews and I didn't realize that cheap dedicated servers existed, so I paid $219 a month for a server. I was happy with that.
For six months everything was great. No problems with service, very good customer support on technical issues, etc. Todd and I split the server, and after six months we decided it was too expensive to justify. Still, I had no qualms with Hostgator's service and would have recommended it to others, especially their shared service which was a decent deal.
I worked out an awesome deal with the people at Server a Day and got a good (but not as fast as Hostgator) server for $25/mo with no setup fee.t's been fantastic since I got it and I'd highly recommend those guys to anyone looking for some good hosting.
Every month Hostgator bills me on the 15th. On February 13th I sent a support ticket telling them to not renew my account. They had an automated cancellation form, but it immediately wipes your server and I still planned on moving stuff the next day.
On the 21st they sent me an e-mail telling me to use the cancellation form and to e-mail for a refund of that month. I then noticed they charged me on the 15th.
I used the form and e-mailed asking for a refund.
They replied and said that they would not issue a refund.
Our e-mail vollies went back and forth, with them refusing to escalate my issue and refusing to issue a refund. Here are the final two e-mails, mine sent after a particularly dismissive e-mail:
First of all, understand that I will NOT be paying for that month. This
isn't an argument, it is a fact.
There are only two possible ways to proceed.
1. Hostgator will refund the money since I requested the cancellation
BEFORE the date. I will continue to recommend Hostgator to my friends
who need hosting.
2. I will have American Express issue a chargeback. I will then report
Hostgator to various consumer watchdog organizations including the BBB.
I have made my situation perfectly clear. It is obvious that a refund is
due to me. If you do not issue this refund after getting this e-mail, I
will make sure that Brent Oxley gets copies of our correspondence and
understands how this issue was handled.
No matter what you do, escalate this to your supervisor as I have
previously requested and you have failed to do.
As per our terms of service we do not offer refunds on dedicated servers. We also do not take credit card disputes lightly as these are extremely detrimental to the companies involved. Should you attempt to issue a chargeback we will contact American Express with proof of our terms of service as well as your order. We can also insure that this will affect your credit going forward. We would like to work with you regarding this, however we are unable to issue a refund at this time.
Keep in mind that I'd paid $1300+ to Hostgator over the previous months and had told them BEFORE my billing date that I didn't want to be charged again. They never acknowledged any of this and mostly sent me stock replies to my e-mails. Also, disputing charges does NOT affect your credit - they lied presumably to scare me.
That's not how you treat a customer.
So, as promised I sent an e-mail to Amex. Within 12 hours they wrote me back saying that they'd credited my account, returned the charge to Hostgator, and that their investigations department considered the matter closed.
That's how you treat a customer.
The same thing happened to me last year with my discover card. I built my own computer, and bought the motherboard amongst other things on this one site. I started immediately having issues with my RAM and after 2 months I finally realized they sent me the wrong motherboard and it was junk. When I went to request a new one, their website was gone. I had Discover issue a refund and basically got my computer for free. Then I receive a call from an irate Ukrainian claiming I owed him money for the computer he undoubtedly built in his basement. Long story short, Discover rocks!
Bluffing and ultimatums are totally weak game.
That's bullshit about affecting credit.
And who cares anyway, even if it were true? Being bullied by a vendor is very bad business. And if that vendor can unduly influence your credit score, then it's even worse to do business with that vendor.
For at least the next couple of years, credit won't count like CASH. About 10 million people with Super Duper Credit Scores are about to f-o-r-e-c-l-o-s-e.
Thanks for info.
I just had a terrible experience with Namecheap, where they are holding my account hostage over a chargeback. That I never made. They turned off my server and my clients' sites were dark for two days. I've told them that I will pay the $200 bogus fee, but I'm currently searching for a new home for my domain registration and hosting. Namecheap can go away forever as far as I'm concerned. Thank you for steering me away from another nightmare. I'll keep looking.
Jon: Read the article before you argue with it. I PAID for a month and wanted to USE that month and then STOP PAYING AND STOP GETTING SERVICE. That's very standard. Their web form had no provision for this, so I contacted support. Makes sense.
I ended up exchanging e-mails with the owner of the company and he apologized and made sure that everything was taken care of. I don't think it's a bad company, I think it's a bad policy and the low level tech support guy handled it wrong.
Jon, you have convinced me to go ahead and try HostGator for myself as I was one who found this page in a search for HostGator reviews and comparisons. I have fired many a customer like him myself, as I am an full range small business IT Consultant. Thank you. Have a Great Day! Wish I could see your site...........
You can't say Hostgator is at fault!
You bought a DEDICATED server, taking up their money, time, administrator's time, all worth MONEY, and YOU had a chance to cancel it early but decided to wait until AFTER the renewal date and THEN want a refund?!?!
Why didn't you just spend those 48 hours moving your crap, and use their automated form to cancel it the "next day" as you planned to move it the next day?!
You can't have your cake and eat it too. And as far their response that they would fight back... so what?
YOU threatened them first with BBB complaints and all other bullshit because YOU delayed canceling which caused their AUTOMATIC billing to kick in.
By my book, that makes one toxic customer. I use Hostgator for my dedicated server, and they have been heads-over-heels to help customers who stick with them. I have been with a dozen web hosts and never gotten the kind of customer service, advanced feature support, and other benefits as I have with Hostgator.
I HAVE been with bad web hosts, 1&1, iPowerWeb, to name a few.
I just hate it when customers blame GOOD companies for THEIR mistakes (like your failing to cancel before renewal date). It only serves to further confuse people who are trying to look for that good company.
Posts such as yours may deter someone from going to Hostgator because of your problems, only to end up at some crappy host who has real problems other than obnoxious customers who want to have their cake and eat it too.
Did you think they'd let you use their dedicated server for that week and just refund the money? Geesh.
i suppose that you should have used the cancellation form as the terms of service and their company policies require in order to cancel an active service account/server.
Oh. Forgot to mention...I signed up for hostgator this morning! hah! The irony. The good news is I used a coupon that made the first month free and I'm using shared hosting, which I still think hostgator is the best at. Generally, shared hosting and dedicated don't do well at the same host.
I've resigned from my corporate job. I'm currently working with a indi film maker & producer, Felicia Day and Kim Evey, and also starting a couple new deals. You should check out the indi film thing: www.watchtheguild.com and www.gorgeoustiny.com - you're gonna love the chicken thing! Very japanese-juicy-talk-show.
I hate Paypal. In the early days of gambling I used Paypal to send money to casinos, and Paypal would occasionally screw me over. They held all deposits to casinos for 30 days so that if the casino went under, players wouldn't get screwed. That was nice of them.
One time I deposited $10k and a casino went under. They never gave me any money despite a number of calls and e-mails. Oh well.
I use paypal when I absolutely have to, and that's it. Google checkout came along, and I was happy about that. I like Adwords, Adsense is ok, Search is awesome, etc. I figure with their "Don't be evil" motto, I'd have nothing to worry about.
Some great questions from a friend of mine striking off internationally / mobile.
Also, you had some tips for this lifestyle. What are they? My biggest questions are:
1) Receiving phone calls. I imagine there are good (even free) Voice Over IP services that will allow me to
Take my old local calls and transfer them to the Internet; Forward the calls to whatever local number I'm using in whatever country I happen to be; Transfer voice mail and SMS messages to e-mail.
1. Google Voice is good for getting a USA number ported. I don't know about Europe... maybe you can port it to SkypeIn (a nice product), or maybe to Grasshopper if they're working in Europe. Get Google Voice though definitely, it's free and good and does what you want.