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Travelers Checks

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Dec 29th, 2011, 10:00 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Dec 2011
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Travelers Checks

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.
Tal1234Tal is offline  
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Dec 29th, 2011, 01:47 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Very strange indeed if you filed a valid police report
amex.com should have refunded you no problem.Circumstances
must be suspicious for an "inside job" .I deal
with Amex.com daily they are awesome about refunds/disputes
for me.Do not use travellers cheques much these days they have gone the way ofthe dodo.BKK is noted for "inside jobs" travelers cheque fraud.But if legit file a BBB.org complaint
threaten to sue in small claims court if you do not recover
go ahead and sue them I have others in the past judges are sympathetic there are night courts not costly odds are great if the facts are on your side you will recover.

Good luck!
qwovadis is offline  
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Dec 29th, 2011, 01:50 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Some locations operators like Thomas Cook and American Express have been known to refuse to replace the cheques. Generally this happens in fraud capitals like Bangkok or Bombay. The bottom line is that they should eventually play ball but you may need to hound them relentlessly.
They will interrogate you, insist on police reports (in some places requiring a bribe to get) and put you through all the hoops possible before giving in. Yet there are cases where they refuse to honour their agreement and what are you going to do – hire a lawyer and take American Express to court?
The basic reason for their doubt is that there thrives in many countries a black market for stolen traveler’s checks. They can be sold for around 40-60% of their value to local scamsters who have back doors into the banking system.
Many travellers do the traveler cheque scam to raise some money
qwovadis is offline  
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Dec 29th, 2011, 03:08 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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You might want to contact the consumer advocate Chris Elliott (http://www.elliott.org/) to see if he can get anything out of Amex. This is really unbelievable!
thursdaysd is online now  
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Dec 30th, 2011, 12:38 AM
  #5
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Join Date: Dec 2011
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How is it an "Inside Job"?? The checks were CANCELLED!
They can't be used. Not by me and not by anyone.
Where's the conspiracy? The checks are just a pile of useless paper.

I've contacted many places, including consumer advocacy groups, and I've also noted that I'm not the only one in this situation.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011...cheques-stolen

I'm trying right now to work with the place I purchased the checks to get my money back through them. I don't want to have to sue them unless it's a last resort.

Hopefully others learn from my mistake.
Tal1234Tal is offline  
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Dec 30th, 2011, 03:21 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Qwov.. how do you substantiate your statment of "Many travellers do the traveler cheque scam to raise some money

If the traveller's cheques have not been cashed I find it amazing that they will not replace them.

Seems that that advertising about how great traveller's cheques are, may not be true!
MissGreen is offline  
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Dec 30th, 2011, 08:55 AM
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“There is insufficient substantiation that any cheques were lost/stolen from you.”

What is it they were looking for? Do you know what kind of documentation they wanted from you?
suze is offline  
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Dec 30th, 2011, 02:38 PM
  #8
 
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The one thing you don't mention is the most crucial piece. Do you have the original receipts with the numbers of the travelers checks recorded? If you have that, I"m not sure why you are having the problem. But if you are just trying to get a refund without the original receipts, that's a different story entirely and probably the source of your problems. That's why Amex probably feels that this is a scam.
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Dec 30th, 2011, 04:39 PM
  #9
 
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The two times I've lost TCs (haven't used them in nearly 10 years) AMEX replaced them w/ almost no hassle. One time it took less than 15 minutes at the amex office in London.

"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. . ."

My hunch is you either didn't provide the necessary documentation, or something else was fishy. I can't otherwise fathom why they only want written communications.
janisj is online now  
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Dec 30th, 2011, 07:36 PM
  #10
 
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Like Doug mentions, are you in possession of that original receipt that shows the exact numbers of your checks? The slip of paper you are supposed to keep separate from the checks in case anything happens?
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