American Express “Respect Your Privacy”? Only For 3 or 5 Years.

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Amex platinum 2-1.jpgI signed up for an American Express card when I started my first job after university and I am proudly “member since” 1983. About 15 years ago added a Business Platinum American Express Card account as well. I’ve had excellent service with Amex. But I was very surprised to receive communications from them telling me that they were changing my privacy selections to allow unwanted telemarketing and direct mail without my permission and against my stated wishes.

Like many consumers, I don’t want to be interrupted by telephone solicitations and I don’t want to receive print offers that just go into the recycle bin. So a long time ago I opted out of these communications from American Express.

It turns out American Express does not honor your choice forever

Amex privacy 4.jpgAccording to the American Express U.S. Online Privacy Statement: “You can choose how you would like to receive direct marketing communications - whether we send them to you through postal mail, email and/or telephone. If you choose to not receive marketing communications from us, we will honor your choice.”

But that’s not true.

I got an email from American Express informing me that the privacy selections I made were going to be changed without my permission. They were going to start sending me direct mail and calling me on the telephone.

In reading the fine print in the American Express Privacy Center, it turns out the Amex “marketing communications” choices are not permanent.

In the U.S. the company can switch the choices in your account and start sending you direct mail after 3 years and call you on the phone after 5 years.

“If the box is unchecked, American Express will not call you to inform you of offers we believe you may be interested in. You will become eligible for marketing by phone again in five (5) years after your initial choice, or longer if required by applicable law, and can renew your choice at that time.”

Yes, you can go in and re-opt out but that seems silly to me.

Always treat customers with respect

"At American Express, we value your trust and respect your privacy."  

The company makes a big deal about their privacy policies. Of course, that’s a good thing. But in my opinion, it’s abusive to change the customer selections every few years.

Just because “applicable law” allows this practice doesn’t make it right.

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