January 06, 2014

Cancelling a Costco Amex Card


Roland: ... is actually not as easy as it sounds! It was really about time to cancel our Costco membership as it does cost quite a buck every year which may be ok when you regularly buy there, but does not make that much sense when you live in a country where they do not have a Costco (as unbelievable as that may sound to our North American readers).

So step 1 would be to cancel the Amex card that is associated with our account. The obvious first idea was to call the customer service number that is printed in microscopic letters on the back of the card. As expected I was connected to a computer voice that asked me for my card number and password. Once I had done that it gave me the choice to access any possible information regarding my account, but it did not give me an option to talk to a live operator. So I checked the net for alternative numbers, found a few of them, tried them all, and ended up with the same result as the first time. Then I lied to the computer stating that I did not have my credit card available (although I did not want to report it as stolen) planning on being connected to a human being, but no... it asked for my name, date of birth and social security number to access my account and give me the usual information once again.

A bit frustrated I called a GERMAN Amex number I found on the net. I was connected to the usual computer voice (obviously in German this time) that actually offered my one more choice: hit # for operator! The operator was Ines, a very nice Lady, who could not help me with my inquiry, but who connected me to the American branch of Amex, where I talked to Jonah, who could not help me either, but who connected me to the Canadian branch of Amex, where I talked to Virginia, who could not help me (other than changing our address on the account), but who connected me to Frank, who had our account closed within a minute.

And by the way, I was told to just hit the # key after calling the service number on my card to speak to an operator. Could they not have the computer tell you that when you call?! Anyway, the account is closed now, next step is to close the Costco membership. This time I will use email!

12 comments:

  1. The # or 0 button works all the time as I always use it even if it isn't on the menu. All keypresses are part of the CDR (Call Detail Record) captured at the telephone switch room so I avoid using the telephone keypad for entering CC numbers. Voice recognition systems are more hassle but I think more secure.

    Canceling should be as easy as getting...

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    1. Hm I did not know that! Is this common knowledge, and I just missed it? I will definitely try next time I talk to a computer voice! Thanks for the info Richard!

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    2. No, probably not common knowledge. I just know since I've written telephone billing software in the distant past and had to ignore all the additional numbers since all I was looking for was the dialed number.

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  2. quite a nightmare ;-). reminds us to cancel our costco-membership, too. we only shopped there three times, I don't like it very much.

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    1. I think we also did not use it as much so it would really pay off the fees. But they had the cheapest gas station for sure!

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  3. As Richard mentioned, the 0 key works most of the time to abort the damn scripting. I have automated answering services. I feel your pain.

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    1. Yes, I could really live without them, too. Although I love optimized processes I believe that communication should happen between people, and not with machines. And that includes Siri!

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  5. Roland, I was going to offer to go to Costco to cancel your membership at the service desk in person, but I see you have it covered. In about 10 years' time when all shopping will be online only, we'll all spend countless frustrating hours on the phone with folks in India and the Philippines who are incapable or helping in any real way. Scary thought.

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    1. I had some experiences with Indian customer services that really made me laugh... years later! But when I was talking to them I was ready to bang my head against the wall. These days it seems to be so much easier to subscribe to a service than to cancel it!

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  6. Wow. They sure made you jump through some hoops. I usually try hitting 0 or # or various things. Sometimes if they are spoken prompts I'll say 'customer service' when that does't work I swear at the prompt, but they never understand that.

    Our Costco membership is up next month and we are thinking of not renewing, luckily we don't have the Amex.

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    1. Looks like this actually IS common knowledge. This could have saved me a lot of time and money if I had know that before :-) Probably Costco will be suing me for encouraging their customers to quit...

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