Just before I left on Christmas vacation last year, I received a little bill-stuffer from American Express touting its "Gateway Plus" program, their buyer-protection-plus plan...so to speak. One of the features, and I quote, is that the plan:
"...protects eligible retail purchases made with the Card automatically against accidental physical damage and most theft for 90 days from date of purchase."
Simple enough. Or so I thought.
One of my holiday Amex splurges was a $325 Gucci hat, which I shared with my son Hayes who, to be honest, looked a whole lot better in it than I did. Which is why, when he wanted to borrow it for a night on the town, I was happy to lend it to him.
Well, four hours later, a somewhat upset Hayes came home and told me that said hat had been stolen at a bar. He had taken it off to fix his hair, and when he went to put it on again, it was gone.
"No problem!" I beamed with confidence. "We are covered by American Express's 'Gateway Plus'! We'll have a new one before we know it."
Or so I thought.
The process to recover the three hundred bucks or so proved more difficult than applying for political asylum refugee status. Here's what I had to provide:
A copy of the police report of the stolen Item
The original receipt
The American Express statement with the purchase shown on it
A written statement from me explaining exactly what happened
A statement from my homeowners' insurance indicating the deductible (if it is higher than the purchase price of item) OR a copy of the claim to my homeowners' insurance if the deductible is lower than the $341.85...the price plus tax. (Either way, they needed proof of insurance.)
The purchase protection claim had to be submitted with all of the above within 30 days of the incident
A blood sample, DNA test and title to my first-born grandchild
Okay, so I'm kidding about #7...but barely.
So here's the point. I've been an Amex "member" for close to a quarter-century. Last year on my Amex card, between personal and business use, I charged--and paid!!!--the equivalent of the GNP of a small nation (unfortunately, here I am NOT kidding).
I understand there may be abuses of the Gateway Plus system, but a quick check would show the Amex folks that I had never used this in the past (and if I were trying to screw them, it would be for more than $325...).
Considering the many tens-of-thousands they have made off me throughout the years, and the fact they could check my insane purchase patterns instantly, you'd figure they could say: "Hey, sorry about the loss. We appreciate your business throughout the years. Here's a new hat."
Instead, they get this blog post.
And I replace the damn hat.
But charge it to my Visa card.