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Travelers Checks

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A few months ago $1,350 in traveler's checks was stolen from me during a trip to Thailand along with a few other things from my bag. I did the right thing and reported the checks stolen. I notified American Express as well as the local police. The police took the report and gave me signed a statement regarding the theft.
On the American Express website they write that, “Your money is always safe with travelers cheques”, and just below that they add that if your money is lost or stolen, it will usually be refunded within 24 hours. I was sure that all it would take would be a few phone calls, faxes, and I would get my money back safely just like American Express claims.
The nightmare began when I called American Express to report the stolen travelers cheques. Right off, the representative told me that I would probably not get my money back within 24 hours as the website claims, and that I should try to find another way to get money (I was stuck with just $100 in Thailand). They said it would likely be a long process.
In the subsequent months, I found myself having countless discussions with customer representatives, sending dozens of emails along with photocopied documents, bank account statements, my lease agreement (to prove where I live), and answering dozens of questions that included my height and weight and many other extraneous details.
If I had just lost $50 or $100 dollars, I might have given up, as I’m sure many people do, but the amount stolen from me was so great that I keep trying. I kept up with calling, e-mailing, photocopies, faxes, and everything else.
After months of this process, I finally received a letter from American Express stating that they refused to give me back my money even though the checks were cancelled and cannot be used. They claimed, “There is insufficient substantiation that any cheques were lost/stolen from you.” In addition, they now claim that all further communication with them must be conducted through written documents only, so basically calling them does me no good.
One word describes the customer service at American Express: Indifference.

I’m 33 years old, I have two degrees – one in mathematics and the other in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering – I’m clearly not a crook or a scam artist. There is no reason for them to treat me with such indifference and lack of respect. I will never use American Express Travelers Cheques ever again, and I encourage you all to learn from my mistakes.

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