Saturday, 23 May 2009

American Express - Customer Service?

British Airways American Express Card

British Airways has just posted its biggest loss, £401m. It makes some extra revenue through its partnership with Amex. Spending on the BA Amex card is rewarded with BA miles.

To encourage existing card holders to recommend their friends Amex offers 2,000 BA miles to both the proposer and joiner. On 31 Jan I proposed a friend. I'm still waiting for the promised BA miles, and so is she.

2 weeks ago I telephoned Amex to find out what had gone wrong. They promised to call me back within 7 days and explain. They didn't.

Today I telephoned again. They said they had called me back two days ago and left a message. I said they hadn't. Could they tell me what number they left me a message on? No, because of data protection rules they couldn't. So far as I am aware there is nothing in the Data Protection Act which prevents Amex telling me what telephone number they have listed on my account.

When I asked for a manager to telephone me and explain their service failure I was told I would have to write in. It's a while since I wrote a letter of complaint, but if they insist.

I've taken the opportunity to remind Amex the credit card and their promotional advertising are both regulated products.

I'm surprised Amex were unable to resolve my complaint more helpfully.

I'll remember that next time I'm sifting through a wallet full of plastic.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Flipping Hazel Blears

Hazel Blears, The Communities Secretary - On Yer Bike Love

18 months ago I wrote to Hazel Blears, The Commumities Secretary to complain about the Deposit Protection Service which her Government department licenses. She never did reply.

I had taken a short term let while working away from home. The landlord failed to lodge my deposit with an intermediary as the law requires. When a dispute arose I asked for my deposit back. The landlord refused and when I threatened the Small Claims Court the Deposit Protection Service retrospectively accepted my deposit from the landlord - even though they shouldn't have.

I wrote to Hazel Blears in her role as the Communities Secretay to ask whether the new system was really protecting tenants as it had been deisgned to do. She never did write back. I lost my £500 deposit.

This week I learned from The Daily Telegraph that Hazel Blears was probably too pre-occupied with her own property portfolio. She has been busy enriching herself at the expense of UK taxpayers. It turns out Hazel 'flipped' her second home not once but twice, claiming her moving costs, and her mortgage interest expenses while pocketing a £45,000 profit on the property purchases taxpayers helped fund.

Now Hazel Blears has decided to pay back the Capital Gains tax which would have been due 'if any had been due'. MPs don't pay capital gains tax on their second homes which taxpayers help pay for, but they are allowed to keep the profit when they come to sell.

Hazel Blears greed looks set to cost her her place in the Cabinet next month when the PM reshuffles his team. I hope her own voters decide her duplicity should also cost her seat in Parliament next time they have the opportunity to vote.

Thanks for nothing Hazel. Voters have a long memory.