Yesterday I got a corporate credit card statement from American Express. Problem is, I haven’t had an Amex card for three years. The company listed was my old employer, it showed a zero balance and then told me payment was due immediately or I’d have to pay a penalty.


So I call Amex to see what’s up, and they send me to voicemail hell. “Please enter or say your corporate card number and press the # key.”

I can’t. The card number isn’t on the statement, as far as can tell, and I no longer HAVE the card (obviously). So, since they’ve got speech recognition, I say I don’t have a card number and ask to speak to a representative.

“I’ll be happy to transfer you to a representative, but I need your card number first. Please enter or say…”


“I’ll transfer you to a representative, but I’ll need some information first. Please enter or say your card…”


“Transferring now to a representative. Please enter or say your card num…”


A little diddly-duddly sound and a real, live human comes on the line. I start to explain the situation and he interrupts. “Let me guess–you just got a statement with a zero balance on a card you haven’t had in awhile, right?”

Whew. Yes.

“Don’t worry about it,” he assures me, “We recently transferred all our corporate cardholders to online statements and when it switched over it turned out that the system couldn’t distinguish between active and cancelled accounts. So anybody with a period of inactivity and a zero balance automatically got a paper statement. However, we probably do want to make sure you don’t accidentally have an active card out there someplace.”

“If you’ll give me your card number, I’ll check…”