I called the American Express 800 number. Someone in India answered. They said that they could not help me because their computer system was not working. (This was ironic as I could see all of the transactions on my computer.)
I called back 30 minutes alter and got an Indian woman on the phone. She took note of the unauthorized transactions and suspended the card after quite a verbal battle. She then explained to me that I would have to call Home Depot and Exxon Mobil and set up conference calls with the American Express 800 number. Once the companies that had accepted the charges and agreed to reverse them, I could get these taken off the card.
This was either a woman relying on British common law in India (where consumers have far less protection against identity fraud than in the US) or trained to discourage customers from contesting identity fraud charges to save the company money.
I got very angry at this point. I explained to this lady that I had attended law school and worked at law firms as a para legal. I told her that I would file suit on Monday and make sure that the media heard about this situation. I assured her that such an outcome would cause cost American Express far more than the $660 in question. I told her that I was going to stay on the phone all night long. I intended to go all the way up to the managing director of American Express in India to get some resolution.
I was then sent to this woman’s supervisor. He was a more rational and knowledgeable man. He agreed to get the charges reversed once final settlement had taken place on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.
There is that old saying with two variations as follows:
“It’s not a deal until the check clears the bank.”
“It’s not over until the fat lady sings.”
We will see what happens next week. American Express is generally”a class act” and a group of ladies and gentleman. I’m very disappointed in them. But I can imagine what some worst companies would have done in this situation.
My friends the message here is that if you get hit with identity fraud, as the old saying goes: “You’re in for the ride of your life.” In this situation you are also: “guilty until proven innocent.” I strongly urge each of you to buy an identity fraud insurance police from a reputable insurance company like State Farm or one of the major credit bureaus.