Social Media

Not So Fancy: LinkedIn Post Highlights Disappointment In Credit Card Industry

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Over the years, social media has given a platform to unsatisfied customers to voice their grievances, as many a time what cannot be solved through customer service gets more attention through a post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. One of the most common posts deals with air travel, with users sharing their not so pleasant experiences at an airport or during a flight. And then of course there are those viral videos which keep showing up on our feed.

The one space, however, which may not have gotten much air time is the credit card industry. Recently, Aditya Gupta, Founder of The Rug Republic shared a detailed post on LinkedIn regarding his disappointing experience with the American Express Centurion Black Card. The post as of now has 196 comments and 42 reposts, signalling high engagement, with lots of people sharing their personal experiences with the premium credit cards. Gupta also lodged complaints with Consumer Affairs and the Reserve Bank of India. His posts highlights potential discrepancies between promised services and actual delivery.

Given below is the entire text of the post:

In the sphere of prestigious brands, promises are made and expectations set high. However, what happens when a renowned name like Amex underdelivers? Today, I’m sharing my experience with the Centurion Black Card, also touted as the Rolls Royce of credit cards. The Damages? INR 11lacs FEES in the first year then about 2.5 lacs per year! Okay…

Once accepted their invitation for the Centurion black card …it was outright incompetence. It’s not easy for a brand to destroy 28 years of loyalty from a customer, but AMEX have done it.

I don’t know how the other Centurion Card holders have experienced it, but I doubt it will be very different from mine. The main expectation from such a card is SERVICE & RESOURCEFULNESS. Things like discounts & freebies are simply a PARTIAL recovery of what one pays as a fee anyway. So let’s park those aside, though they too are overstated and with a lot of fake bluster. Let’s get into the specifics:

1. The Dedicated Relationship Manager (RM): Promised as a personal service, what you often get instead are decorative post holders. The RM is primarily accessible via email during office hours while most concierge needs occur during weekends. The Platinum experience is actually better as no expectations of personal attention are set.

2. Inefficient Service: Concierge services operate mostly via email, responses can range from 2 hours to 2 days and are often incomplete or template-based. This is not what one expects for a service of this caliber. Admittedly trainees are handling requests who have no idea of what/who they are dealing with. TWICE they send me other’s tickets& information!!

3. Limited Scope: Sales pitch for the Centurion is about “ask us to do anything”. But they struggle with simple tasks such purchasing air tickets from regional European airlines. Essentially, their capability mirrors what my office can do with Google. NOTHING MORE.

4. Airport Lounge Access: Despite the hefty annual fees, the lounges abroad are basically two reserved tables within the general Amex Lounge if at all present at an airport. So real difference from Platinum.

5. Airport services are applicable only if the tickets are purchased through them, often at a higher price, despite high fee already charged.

6. Surcharge of 3.5% on overseas spend, which is 50% higher than others. High fee+high charges.

The list is long, but the LinkedIn word limit is low. There is no real difference between a Platinum and Centurion, it is just an ego massage, not a real service.

Meetings and calls ensued, but to no avail. Eventually I asked for a refund of hefty fee and to be back to Platinum. They would rather lose a client of 28 years than refund money charged for services they simply do not deliver!

Finally, I have lodged a complaint with Consumer Affairs and will be doing the same with RBI. Brands must be held responsible for what they promise to do.

Several people who have had similar experiences commented on the post weighing in with their own opinions.

“I agree with what you are saying. I am holding a platinum card for a few years now, and am seriously contemplating giving it up. Prices are higher for most travel experiences (even when the properties they have partnered with are booked through them as opposed to any regular online portal or the property directly), it does take at least 6 hours for them to revert, after you waste an average of 7-10 minutes holding on the line waiting for the Amex representative. Their standard excuse it that they are experiencing high volume of call traffic. Every time. Seems like a joke. I think that the top tier cards of leading banks are actually better with relationship managers going out of their way to help premium customers. Also it’s a gimmick that the card is limitless. I don’t think successful people need a limitless card as those who have earned their wealth are very careful about spending it, and the limits actually exist, which are no more different from those of the said bank cards above. HDFC and ICICI allow almost similar limits. In a world where time is money, I can book my entire trip online from any leading portal in the time that I am holding on the line waiting for Amex to answer,” Abhishek M, Director of Operations at BEC Conduits Private Limited had commented.

What now remains to be seen how this matter pans out in the future. But it surely highlights quite a few concerns on behalf of loyal customers, which shall continue to be highlited on various social media platforms with the increasing influence these platforms play in our lives, along with at times leading the authorities to take notice where they did not before.

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