Talk of the Town

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Customer service a problem in Costco's switch from Amex to Visa

While the benefits of Costco's new partnership with Visa favor Costco shoppers , taking advantage of those perks is already proving to be a headache for some Costco shoppers.

The transition from the Costco American Express branded cards to the new Visa branded cards (issued by Citi) was supposed to be seamless, but customer service seems to be the one area that is leaving Costco customers longing for Amex.

Since Monday, when Costco officially stopped accepting the American Express branded cards and made a full switch to Visa,  customers have reported issues such as  long wait times on customer service calls, incorrect phone numbers for customer service needs and billing and card errors that will take up to one week to resolve.

It probably wouldn't be so awful if customers weren't comparing the experiences with Visa to those with American Express, which they say offered stellar customer service.

"My card had the wrong Costco member number, so Costco had to override it for me to get gas and again to shop in the warehouse.  The phone numbers I was given to resolve the problem wasn't correct and I had to call two other numbers," said one AJC reader.

"The phone was busy and instead of taking a message, the recording told me to hang up and call back.  I hope I was finally able to get the correct member number on my account.  The agent told me it would take 5-7 business days for me to get a corrected card.  American Express would have overnighted a new card to me."

Another AJC reader had problems setting up Apple Pay and changing the credit card on some accounts. There were also problems with billing. The reader was told it would have been best to pay Citi rather American Express even though the bill was issued by Amex.

"Trying to get to customer service has been a nightmare. I have had 7-10 messages stating that they were very busy and I should call back and then (they) disconnected me," said the reader. "I did manage, after a 45 minute wait, to get to a customer service rep on a security issue, but at least I wasn't disconnected.  I am sure things will get better, but AE customer service has always been superlative for me."

Plenty of Costco customers took to Twitter this week with similar complaints, prompting a Citi spokesperson  to issue a statement on Wednesday :

"Due to the tremendous response, some customers experienced delays reaching customer service. However, call volumes are starting to return to normal," a spokesperson said. "We sincerely apologize to those who have been inconvenienced and are absolutely committed to serving our existing and new cardmembers."

Hopefully, the issues will be resolved soon and customers can begin enjoying the perks of their new cards.

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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.