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Question about American Express travelers checks

Question about American Express travelers checks

Jun 27th, 2007, 11:00 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2
Never use american express travilers checks! ATM is the best choice. I and my partner lost 10,000 euros in amex checks, we did everything correct for a refund, and was refused refund by american express. Therefor loosing 10,000 euros! I am 60, and have traviled with amex checks for over 30 years,i have a good track record. I also hear many horror stories about amex credit cards and their investing company. our advice: LEAVE HOME WITH THEM.
cybird111 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 11:52 PM
  #42  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 45
Just got some free AMEX traveler's checks today for emergency back-up. I wish I'd read this forum first.

I've used only ATM cards for cash and credit cards for purchases for about 10 years now. However, this past December, I went to Guatemala where they had a currency crisis. There was a shortage of cash in the ATM machines. I'd learned of this on Fodor's site before I left, so I brought travelers checks. I actually was able to get cash from the ATMs most of the time but I did use the traveler's checks when I couldn't get cash for a small hotel that didn't take credit cards.

I'm going to Ireland and Portugal where there are many B&B's & pensaos that don't take credit cards. I thought it would be good for an emergency and risk-free. However, hearing how hard it is to use TCs in Europe these days and problems getting refunds if they're lost or stolen, makes me sorry I got them.
nmsky2007 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 12:19 AM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 45
I just looked on the AmEx website re TCs. They still talk about peace of mind, etc. etc. I looked in their policies and found that in order to get a refund for lost or stolen checks you must meet certain conditions including:

"You have safeguarded the Cheque as a prudent person would safeguard a like amount of cash".

Does anyone have specific details of them using this wording to get out of paying? Has anyone been reimbursed without hassle?
nmsky2007 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 04:44 AM
  #44  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,145
Hi cy,

>...was refused refund by american express. Therefor loosing 10,000 euros!<

Gracious. What happened?

If the checks aren't used Amex owes you the money.

If the checks were used, the signatures can be compared and found to be fraudulent.

Either way, Amex owes you the money.

10,000E is enough to warrant getting a lawyer.

ira is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 04:45 AM
  #45  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,145
Hi nm,

> I thought it would be good for an emergency and risk-free. <

You are correct. You did right.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 04:50 AM
  #46  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,145
nm asks,

>"You have safeguarded the Cheque as a prudent person would safeguard a like amount of cash".

Does anyone have specific details of them using this wording to get out of paying?<

Well, if you call Amex and tell them that you lost all of your TCs because you were making them into paper airplanes and throwing them out the window to see if they would fly back in, you might have difficulty.

>Has anyone been reimbursed without hassle?<

Yes. About $200 worth that mysteriously disappeared from an inside coat pocket.

ira is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 05:52 AM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,725
ira has added some much needed common sense to this discussion. TC are not evil. There are several situations when they make a lot of sense. Don't believe all the extravagant claims, pro or con, in any internet forum.
Contact AmEx or other provider for the real dope on rates and charges.
robjame is offline  
Jul 9th, 2007, 10:01 AM
  #48  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1
American express traveller cheques is definitely a bad idea. I recently went to Hong Kong and China. No one takes it, even at the exchange booth in the airport. I carried more than $20,000 USD AX TC and had to walk under 100 degree heat without a penny of local money even to get a soda. Eventually, some $9000 USD TC was lost and I am still trying to get AM Claim department to reimburse me. When I was in China, the Australian American Express claim office told me it would take up to a month to the refund. Therefore, it is better to wait till I get back to the States. Now I am back, the AX claim officer assigned to my case never returns my phone calls. Her secretary informed me it would take up to a year to get refund or sometimes even longer. When I told her, American Express ad on the TV said " if your TC is lost, we will replace it within 24 hours to your hotel." I was then informed, it was "only some cases". After I complain to the claim officer's supervisor for non-responsiveness, I finally got a call back from my claim officer and she was nasty and hostile. I guess she lied to her supervisor that she called me several times and left messages. I told him that the contact number is my office and calls are monitored 24x7. Please check her phone records. Never thought it would be a her said she said situation. Fax sent to her was claimed never to arrive. I asked my secretary to contact her since she did the fax and, miraculously, she had recieved the fax without resending to her. I have an ill feeling that I am being treated like a thief. Why do they not understand that I used CASH plus fees to obtain those TC and was left to struggle in foreign countries. After I get back, this is the treatment I get? No one recognized me as AX customer, even AX itself.
I tried to deposit TC to HSBC in Hong Kong and was refused. Bank asked me to go wait in line to exchange to local currency before it will take it. AM TC being refused for direct deposit by the largest bank in the world. That should tell you something.
fatcat88 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2007, 10:41 AM
  #49  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,145
>I tried to deposit TC to HSBC in Hong Kong and was refused. Bank asked me to go wait in line to exchange to local currency before it will take it. <

That's odd: bank won't trust a TC for deposit, but will convert it to cash.

ira is offline  
Jul 9th, 2007, 04:48 PM
  #50  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,725
I suspect that the teller at the deposits wicket is unable to access currency exchange rates , which fluctuate by the second, and they have a currency exchange wicket that specializes in this. Good idea,
robjame is offline  
Jul 9th, 2007, 04:59 PM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
"...the signatures can be compared and found to be fraudulent."

- Unless you're one of those goobers who routinely signs both the signature and countersignature lines at once because it's more convenient.
Robespierre is offline  
Jul 9th, 2007, 05:32 PM
  #52  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 888
We had this same frantic discussion with the gals I just went to Paris with. Kind of the same situation with five of us high school classmates rather than your four, and one that had never been to Europe.

Things have changed quickly regarding currency exchange. I remember how we all used traveller's checks at one time, but see them so infrequently these days. Then the ATM was so convenient, especially for using one's own money, but this forum made us aware of transaction fees in addition to fees charged for use of the ATM. We were also fearful having our personal funds drained using debit cards. Trying to outsmart the banks and crooks made us crazy!

Here is what our group did:

Each person called their credit card companies to see what the transaction fees might be. In my case, it turned out that my small bank did not charge a transaction fee, allowed me to take out my own money with a PIN in a widely used ATM system, and had a decent exchange rate.
One person opened a special account with limited funds at her bank from which she could draw using a debit card on a widely used system throughout Europe.
Another opened a special American Express account that cost $14.95 to fund and charged her about $2.50 every time she drew on the account using a special card (an ATM fee?). There were limited ATM machines she could use and every time she recharges (funds the account) she has to pay $14.95 to use her own money, but she felt safe not tapping into her major accounts.
One person opened a special account at an out of state bank that said the card would be good "everywhere" to withdraw the limited funds in her account. It turned out that despite the bank's reassurances, the card could not be used in Europe, only in the U.S. She did not bring any other debit card with her and was unable to get funds except through us.

Paying to use your own money is never pleasant, but despite the additional charges, my friends seemed satisfied with their arrangements. Most important, it gave them peace of mind.
Leburta is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 08:15 PM
  #53  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1
Although my family & I didn't try to cash A. Ex. travelers' checks in London, we DID try in Spain, France, & Italy. It was next to impossible to cash the checks, even in major cities and at the largest banks. And the travelers' checks were already in Euros. We wasted a LOT of time (about 3 half days) and energy (walking to 6 or 7 banks) looking for an institution that would cash the darn things. Nor do most hotels or restaurants accept the checks. I would strongly advise you to either take cash, ATM card (and even these are sometimes hard to find in working order and which represent the system that you need.), & credit cards, and in this order. Cash, by all means, is the best way to go. Don't keep it all in one place, of course, and it's best to hide a lot of it.
pattychon1 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 08:32 PM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,540
pattychon1: Good confirmation about difficulties using TCs. But your suggestion to take masses of cash to exchange being better than an ATM card really doesn't make sense IMHO. The exchange rate for currency is worse than at ATMs. Plus there is the security issue of having all that cash - you lose it, its lost
janisj is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 09:36 PM
  #55  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,479
Definitely second using ATMs with a debit card (perhaps the poster who disagreed was thinking of the Debit cards that are like a prepaid credit card??)on your normal account.

We went to Tanzania a couple of years ago and took USD 200 in Amex TC for emergencies. Lost them in a camp, but had no problems replacing them in Durban, South Africa. So the service wasn't too bad.

18 months later I was in NYC, I used them to buy clothes in a store (Talbots) with no charge. I don't think I will ever buy them again.
Sarvowinner is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 12:45 AM
  #56  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,438
Wow what an amazing thread. One person uses TCs all the time in Europe and never has a problem talking anyone into taking them at her suggested rate of exchange?
Another person who is an experienced traveler went off on a trip with 10,000 euros of TCs. Why on earth would ANYONE do that? Where are we? In the Twilight Zone.

Meanwhile I question anyone who lost 10,000 in euro TCs and couldn't get the moeny back so just decided to chuck it. I agree, get a lawyer unless $ 13,800 means nothing to you! Care to explain the reason they wouldn't give you your money back? Something just isn't right with this scenario.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 01:17 PM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2
LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THEM. even if you get them at no charge,if you loose them and they dont refund,you loose money and gain a very big hassel struggling to get a refund.
It can ruin a vacation.
yeah try to bring them to court,or beg for your money back. you are nothing to these multinational banks. I have read many tales of them cheating people with the AMEX credit cards.
Ok now its your turn 'American Express reprisentative' to say I am full of it.
cybird111 is offline  

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