American Express sells itself on its customer service, but it has a lot to learn.

I agreed to pay a significant yearly fee for an AmEx card because it is supposed to have good benefits and customer service. My first experience? I call to activate the card and am connected to the worst telemarketer I've ever heard, struggling to read her script and sell me lots of crap I don't want "while waiting for your data to load".

In the mail with my card is the form I have to mail in to prevent them from sharing my private financial data with "valued partners". When I try to register on the website I'm greeted with arbitrary restrictions. No "special characters" in my username. My password has to be 8 characters or less. Apparently email addresses can't contain + in them, but I have to guess at that from the error "you have left the following fields blank or have provided an incorrect format". After I give them an email address their stupid software will accept I'm told that I have to open "email preferences" to opt-out of the valuable offers they'll send.

I can't find the email preferences page ever again. I try hitting the back button to find it but am greeted with errors. The front page is full of offers to up-sell extra services. I finally find the opt-out page, only to be informed it takes them 2-3 weeks to update my preferences.

Stop selling me crap!

Update: I tried writing customer service to share this note with them, and filled out the form, only to be told
The system is not available at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please try again later
  2003-11-08 03:44 Z