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February 4, 2004 @ 5:24am

We had a basement flood last March that wiped out my home office. When I went to collect all of my expenses so my accountants could do my taxes I wasn't surprised to find I was missing the American Express statement that covered mid-March to mid-April.

I checked online and their statements only go back six months. Calling customer service was no immediate help: They can only see the same six months that I can, but they offered to send out a replacement statement in four to six days.

Then I went back online and found a new section on the AmEx site's Small Business Dashboard that allows you to run "Expense Management Reports". It's a powerful tool that lets you select a one- to three-month range in the past two years and get detailed expense reports containing all of your transactions. I asked it for two months starting last March and got paged results containing all of my transactions. Problem solved!

Why don't customer service people know what their company's Web site can do?

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