By The Big Guy
Dear American Express,
A week ago you sent me an email, asking that I participate in a survey. You stated that it was important to you to listen to the opinions of your customers so you can serve them better. You advised me that the survey would be conducted and information processed by an independent research company, that it would only take four minutes of my time, that it would help you improve your products and services and my experiences with them. Just four minutes of my time.
ARE YOU NUTS???? Let’s assume just for a second that this email and the follow up email and the follow up to the follow up email are actually from you. You want to know how I feel about your products and services? Let’s see. My American Express card was caught up in the Target hack of a year ago. My American Express card was most likely caught up in the Home Depot hack of this past spring. Then a month or so ago you sent me a letter advising me that I should just assume that all of my personal information, not just my name and address but my social security number and my mother’s maiden name have probably been stolen and I should take advantage of your lavish offer of one year of fraud protection for which you would be delighted to pick up the tab. That offer, at best, will provide me with the news after the fact that someone has opened up accounts in my name, that my identity has already been stolen and it’s too late to do anything but begin the process of trying to reestablish my credit rating. All this because you, as a leader of the industry that consumer credit has become, cannot manage to put together a system with all those companies that want to sell me stuff that is safe from a bunch of common crooks with computer skills. So how do you think I feel about your products and services?
Let’s talk about those emails that show up every day, not only from you but also from my bank’s credit card division and from the spam artists who are getting better and better at what they do. Why would you think for a second that I would believe that any of them are legitimate? Why would I answer any of them or click on a link for the opportunity to provide even more information about myself? Don’t you already have enough information? What don’t you already know about me? You know everything I buy and when I buy it. You know what products I use and how frequently. You know where I go to be entertained, where I go to dine, where I go on vacation and how long I stay. You can have your computers paint of picture of me that could even teach me something about my own life. And because you and your industry clientele can’t come up with a system to keep that information safe, you are laying my life out there for the hackers and the identity thieves to see as though I had posted copies of my birth certificate, my driver’s license, my passport and all my credit cards on a facebook page for any damn friend of a friend of a friend to see.
So save the survey. Put your efforts where they belong and fix this mess that you’ve helped create. Merry Christmas.
The Big Guy