Was it right for American Express / British Airways to authorize this charge?

Monday, March 1, 2010

British Airways and American Express in cahoots to rip us off?

Ok here's the scenario. Please vote above if these 2 companies were right. I had a fiancee' visa to visit the UK to marry my current wife. My visa expired on Jan 27th and all you have to do is file before it expires for an extension. I decided to go visit the US and was planning to renew my visa when I got back on Jan 23. My British Airways flight on Jan 22 was canceled due to weather. Since I was being rescheduled, I decided to stay another week. I flew back on Jan 28 forgetting that my visa expired on Jan 27. UK immigration made me fly home after letting me see my family for 24 hours. When getting to the airport, British Airways let me on the flight without requiring any payment. When I got off the flight in Phoenix, a British Airways manager detained me and demanded that I sign a 1450.00 dollar credit card receipt to my British wife's American Express card. I refused. It's important to note here that I NEVER used this card. I used airline miles to purchase the original flight. However Veronica (my wife) did use the card to purchase her flight to and from the US.

The next week we saw a 1450.00 charge on her American Express bill. We disputed it with the credit card company stating that we never authorized the charge. American Express denied the dispute stating that they have an agreement with British Airways. My question is, is it right for British Airways to make an unauthorized charge to my wife's credit card to pay for my return flight? Is it right for American Express to charge my wife for a flight when said credit card was never presented to British Airways for a flight in my name?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Making the most of negative feedback on ebay/amazon etc

For me, receiving a negative feedback can ruin my day. I get angry, think of all the horrible things I want to say to this person, and generally destroy my own mental tranquility. I've learned that it doesn't have to be this way. Let's face it, negative feedback is bad. It can lead to account suspensions, hurt business, lost sales. I had an account suspension once that cost me alot. After a Christmas season, I had a flood of angry customers because one of my distributors didn't fill orders in time. In fact the negatives were my fault, because i reacted emotionally instead of dealing with it professionally. It's a business. If someone calls you a worthless ahole because they didn't get their fairy figurine, it's not a reflection on your self worth. In fact some who leave negatives become regular customers. The key is in your response. For instance I wouldn't recommend this one:

F&^! you, you f&$^ing #$^hole, are you blind? Do you not read descriptions? This item ships from the USA! How the hell can you leave me a negative feedback because it didn't arrive in 3 days!!!! Go &*!# yourself you worthless piece of *$%&!!!!!!!

Instead a rule I have for myself is no responding to negative feedback for 24 hours. This gives me a chance to cool down. It doesn't always work but usually at that point I can chill out and call the customer and get to the root of the problem. I've been an etailer for 3 years now and have a few thousand feedback. The one thing I've found is that it's pretty rare to receive negative feedback for no good reason. In some way, I've made a mistake, or there was a shipping problem, or weather or the item is broken, defective, not what they wanted etc. So be kind to your customers, yourself, and your business. Let the anger cool, and try to contact them to figure out what the problem is. Then refund their shipping charge or even the full order if that's what it takes. I usually ask at the end, after I've dealt with the problem if they would mind removing the negative feedback. After all I'm here to make them happy right? Keep in mind that that is the goal here. To make your angry customer happy. They will thank you for it by coming back. So refund this order if you have to, or 20% or whatever. Ask the customer what they want? 25% off? If it's a small order I always give a full refund. And they almost always remove the negative if they say they will. I don't usually say "well if you remove the negative, I'll go ahead and refund you" because this seems mistrusting. But whatever works for you. I'd rather take their word and hope for the best. I feel this is better for customer relations.

Was it right for American Express to allow this charge?