Chase tries to call my mother every day, but she’s been dead two years

Question: My mother died two years ago. Since then, account alerts from Chase have continually come to my phone, a number that was both set to receive account alerts prior to her death, and also a number to which all her calls were forwarded after her death.

The calls come in every day at 4 a.m. If I turn the phone off for the night, the calls come in again at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Calls to every level of Chase’s cardholder and bank divisions yield no results beyond “that call is not coming from Chase” or “we have closed that account and sent it to estates, and there are no records of any calls going to your number at all.”

As I near the marking of the second year of my mother’s passing, I am more and more distressed at these annoying calls. Is there any way to make anyone at Chase simply have these calls stop? — Kimberly O’Connell, Oceanside, Calif.

Answer: My condolences on your loss. Chase should have stopped the calls the moment your mother’s account was closed, and if not, then it should have done so quickly when you called to ask it to end the daily reminders.

It’s a shame you can’t report Chase to the FCC for violating federal “do not call” laws. First, her number would have to be on the registry. And second, under the law, your mother could receive calls from a company with which she has an existing business relationship for up to 18 months after her last transaction, unless she asks the company not to call again. Obviously, she can’t do that.

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You might have also send a brief, polite email to Chase through its website. E-mail messages are assigned a tracking number, and you can keep a paper trail, which can later be forwarded to an executive, regulatory agency – or a consumer advocate.

There’s a nuclear option for a problem like this: You can change your phone number. There’s a reasonably good chance (but no guarantee) that the automatic calls won’t follow you.

As a last-ditch effort, you might have begun sending daily reminders of your request to a Chase executive. I wonder how long it would take before your daily emails to Jamie Dimon, Chase’s CEO, would result in the end of your daily reminders of your loss. Not long, probably.

By the way, all emails at Chase follow the format – so Dimon’s is Calling – (212) 270-1111 or even faxing Dimon directly at (212) 270-1121 might do the trick, too. There are several services that can send a fax automatically (like, say, daily). You get the idea.

I asked Chase if there was any other way you might have fixed this, apart from torturing its executives. The answer? No.

Chase apologized and promised to discontinue the notifications.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

  • Edward Boston

    I’m not sure the “Do Not Call” list is the correct law to resolve something like this. Since this is from the credit card portion of Chase, the Fair Credit collection laws could apply. The story didn’t really explain why Chase was calling but the law does prohibit collection calls to reasonable hours, of which 4am it outside of. A letter of complaint to the FTC may have been of some help in this case.

  • Susan Liberantowski

    Five years after my husband died, JC Penney sent him a credit card. I had remarried and moved but they still were able to send a credit card in his name to my new residence. It happened on the 5th anniversary of his death. It was very upsetting. When I called – no email back then – they just read from a script saying it could not have happened. I cut up the card and mailed it back in a prepaid JCPenney envelope. I have never bought any thing from Penney’s since then.

  • emanon256

    I kept getting sales calls on my cell phone from AT&T trying to sell me a home phone line. They typically called 3 times a day, two days a week, one time usually in the middle of the night. I kept asking them to stop, and they kept calling anyway. I finally asked for a supervisor and was told that since I have a business relationship, they can call as much as they want; unless I terminate the business relationship (My cell phone is with AT&T). I filed a complaint with the FCC and soon after got a call from at AT&T executive council who promised to investigate it, I have not received a call sense. It’s a shame these companies just keep calling and calling and it takes major effort to get them to stop.

  • Daisiemae

    I am on the Do Not Call list and I get numerous telemarketing call daily. On caller ID they usually don’t list a name..just a town and state. Calls come from Oregon and Washington and Kissimmee, Florida. I live in New Jersey.

    I usually never answer. When I play back messages, there’s nothing there.

    It’s really abusive and I’m sick of it. Sometimes the same company calls four or five times in the same day. I’m constantly running to the phone…no peace in my own home.

  • cjr001

    Even if you have a relationship with them, if you tell them to put you on their Do Not Call list, they should comply. If you do that, and they still keep calling, then yeah, complaining to the FCC would certainly be the next step.

  • cjr001

    Unfortunately, phone number spoofing is something that telemarketers have discovered and it has allowed them to completely bypass state and federal calling laws. The

    Since these spoofed phone numbers tend to come from random locations around the country, there’s no way to stop these calls. Worse, if they’re resorting to spoofing, you can be pretty sure that they are nothing but scams.

    If there’s any law that needs to be passed in the wake of Do Not Call, it’s a law to strengthen consumer protections: ban spoofing; make it easier for consumers to be able to block unwanted calls/numbers; no loopholes for charities, pollsters (this one is being abused by scammers) & politicians; proof of your removal from call lists when you ask from companies you do business with; and heavier fines for violators.

  • Bill___A

    Why didn’t the executor deal with this when the estate was being settled? Chase should have received a death certificate, and have been paid out from the estate. Too much missing information here.

  • Raven_Altosk

    How about tightening Do Not Call to include scams? I still get these weird calls from numbers that are clearly spoofed. The recording will say “This is your credit card company. We want to help you lower your interest rate.”

    When I press “1” to talk to someone and ask WHICH card, the answer is “all of them.” The person on the other end is very slick…she kept trying to get me to give her my CC#.

    I called her out on her scam and she became very irate–cussing at me and telling me I was an idiot. I used a few choice words with her and then demanded to speak to a supervisor. She said, “NO!” I said, “Well, that just proves your a [expletive deleted] scam!”

    Watch out for these idiots. They were using numbers in the Spokane area, now it’s Tampa.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Just to prove a point, I got a credit card in my cat’s name.
    Yup, Bank of America is that stupid.

  • Kairho

    This is not a Do Not Call List issue … it is corporate incompetence. Annoying but really there is no damage. Best way to correct the problem is, as suggested, hit them back with daily emails “notifying” Dimon and others that “the call has been received.” That will stop it relatively quickly I should think.

  • mbods

    I don’t know why I’m not understanding this problem. If the calls were set up initially, by choice, to remind daily, why couldn’t the poor thing just dicontinue this either on-line or by telephone. Surely there’s a way to discontinue reminders, there HAS to be, right? Or why didn’t she just block the number? Ah well. Anyway, my condolences. Regardless, when she called, Chase should have been able to help her right away. Two years, that’s just crazy and doesn’t say much about their practices….

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    MY “card holder services” phone call yesterday was from area code 507, which I see is Minnesota. I faithfully report every one of those to the Do Not Call List Complaint site. I’m really not sure what good invoking the “Do Not Call” list is, since the FCC can’t keep up with these people. They either change their numbers or spoof the number appearing on the caller ID.

    [edited to show FCC rather than FTC – have no idea why I used the latter – need. more. caffeine.]

  • Bernard Rappoport

    Why not also start calling a Chase executive or 2 at home at night? Chase is only 1 notch down the unethical ladder from Bank of America (whose Detroit manager, Johnny Rogers, stole my friend’s bank card from his ATM machine). Chase Paymentech solicited another friend by mail…then told him “we don’t deal with your kind of business”…but THEY were the ones who contacted him, they should have known what business they were soliciting…when he complained, their exec was very rude…so he took his credit card processing business to Moneris and to this day tells any merchant he sees who has a Chase unit at the check-out that they should switch,

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Add to your list: actual enforcement of the existing laws and $11,0000 fine per violation.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Chris, I report every violation of the “Do Not Call” registry to the FCC via a complaint form on their website. Nothing much ever happens. I’m not sure that the FCC will follow up on an individual complaint. I have successfully filed complaints with state attorney generals where an actual business is involved, and that gets some action. In this case, I would file a complaint with California and whatever the state is where the Chase account is located.
    My condolences to Ms. O’Connell on her mother’s death.

  • Kathryn

    Bill, it doesn’t matter. My father died almost twenty years ago, and my mother sent all the pertinent information. She still received mail and telephone calls for years, despite all her efforts. I am taking care of her mail and such now, and once or twice a month, here comes mail. It does no good.

  • IGoEverywhere

    Apply for the card with a $50,000 limit. That will wake up the idiots. Once they check out the social security number, all will be closed.

  • Nigel Appleby

    Since the do not call registers came into effect both in the US & Canada we, as Canadian residents, have received calls from US call centres. I’m sure US residents receive calls from Canada and residents of both countries receive calls from all sorts of other countries.
    It’s a fairly obvious result of the do not call registers. The majority of calls we receive have an area code of 8** , which get a message of number not available if one happens to return the call.
    Until countries cooperate to prevent cross border calling, these types of calls will continue.

  • Raven_Altosk

    I freaked one of them out by acting super scared and telling her she was going to get me killed because I was in witness protection. I warned her that the marshals monitor all my calls so she better watch out or they’ll make her life miserable.

    But the majority of those “cardholder services” calls usually just get ignored.

    …sometimes it’s fun to screw with them, though. *EVILS*

  • Raven_Altosk

    Bank of America is so stupid they issued a credit card with a $5K limit to my cat. The fact that I gave his name as Yoda (last name) and birthdate as 1/1/2004 with NO social should’ve clued them in.

    It didn’t. LOL.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    When my mother died a few years back I had an easy time getting accounts closed with the exception of one of her credit cards. (It might have even been Chase, though I’m not 100% sure.) I continued to receive the free checks (to transfer other accounts to them) in the mail for a couple of months. I was told by their customer service that those come out of a different part of the company and there is sometimes a communication lag. But, after a call or two, those mailings finally ceased.

    Regarding the OP’s case, the 4 a.m. calls would make no sense even if her mother were still alive. Obviously something was seriously screwed up in their system. Even if Chase thought her mother was on the East Coast, that would be a telemarketing call at 7 a.m., which is ridiculous.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    At least every week I get a recorded call from “Rachel” at “cardholder services.” I looked them up online and it’s apparently a very prolific scam.

    A few years back I got a live person pretending to be my credit card company. He wanted to save me some money on my rate. His first question was what my rate was now. I told him, “You tell me, since you’re my credit card company.” He didn’t have a good comeback for that one.

  • emanon256

    I got one in my dogs name too! Also to prove a point.

    Edit: In my dogs case it was Discover, I got a blank application in the main and figured why not? Afterwards my dog started getting a lot of junk mail. She got tons of AOL disks!

  • DavidYoung2

    The area code of the call no longer has any relationship to the location of the phone. Someone who lives in Los Angeles can easily have a 212 phone number (New York)

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Things don’t always work as smoothly or simply as they’re supposed to. It’s as simple as that.

    Also, the credit card company would only get paid if there was enough in the estate to do so. My suspicion would be they may keep with the calls for a while hoping to convince a survivor to take care of the deceased’s bill. No way to prove that, but just a guess.

  • Dutchess

    I don’t even think they do phone number spoofing any more they just sign up for things like google voice where you can recycle numbers ever few weeks. As people block your old number you move on to the new number.

  • Bill___A

    It is clear that the lawmakers need to ensure that these sorts of things do not happen. It is about time that laws caught up with technologies.
    Although it is sometimes difficult to trace them, we at least need laws to severely deal with telemarketers, mailers, and harassing collectors so that when they are caught, they can be dealt with in such a way that there’s a deterrent.
    As for Chase, they have more problems than just this. I won’t go into it now, but there are some other frustrations with this company that they can’t fix even when it goes to a higher level of management.

  • Ted Rosenberg

    This is classic Chase. The calls are not from Chase. They send to accounts to an “asset Recovery ” firm, and THEY call you Chase can then say “who me?’ If you get the name of the Asset Recovery firm, you can sue them in Small clame court, and they will settle so fast your head will spin. CHASE on the other hand, will not only refuse to admit being involved, they will actively dodge serve. Not really that big a deal, you can still get alternative service, but just because they are Chase, and they want you to have to jump throug as many hoops as possible. Don’t believe for a second that Chase is not only QUITE aware, they are actively involved

  • cjr001

    I’ve never used VOIP, but that wouldn’t surprise me either. Which means that maybe these services like Google Voice need to be held to a better standard too in helping to deal with problems.

    As for the spoofing, I’ve read recent accounts where people were receiving calls that caller ID said was from their local sheriff’s dept, yet the call was trying to sell them stuff. So, it can be very frustrating.

  • LeeAnneClark

    OMG Raven, I swear I did the EXACT same thing once! It was a woman trying to sell me a Discover card…I kept going on and on about how “Tony” was going to find my and kill me because if they could find me, then he could find me. And then I started accusing her of being Tony’s new squeeze, and saying things like “don’t think he’s not gonna get tired of you too, honey, and then it’s the Hudson River for you!” She got so freaked out she put her supervisor on the phone, and he went to great lengths to try to convince me they weren’t with the Mob. It went on for a really long time. LOL! I had friends over at the time, and they had to slap their hands over their mouths to keep from blowing the whole thing by laughing too loudly!

    Sometimes it scares me how alike you and I think… ;-)

  • technomage1

    I don’t know if I’d admit to that it I were you. I remember a similar case a few years back where someone did it as a gag and they went after him for fraud. I’m not sure what the outcome was, though.

  • technomage1

    I had a similar problem with a bank. They would call me repeatedly with sales calls on my cell phone at all hours of the day (I only have a cell phone). Luckily, a firm call requesting that they only contact me for business purposes put a stop to it.

  • llandyw

    Here’s one of my experiences. I started receiving calls from an unknown number. I had it passed through TrapCall and it showed up as 999-999-9999. I was also getting calls at work also from an unknown number. I’d figured out it was from the same place. Next time I got a call from them while at work, with the “unknown” number, I informed the person that they had contacted a military installation, that their phone line could be locked and traced even though they showed up as unknown (which it could). They immediately apologized and said they would take that number off their list. Not a single call from them since. The offender… HSBC. They are the ones who used to provide CCs for Best Buy. BB has since changed to CitiBank. I guess they got too many complaints about HSBC.

  • emanon256

    Actually, as sad as this sounds, several states have passed laws that make children responsible for their parents debt. So even if a parent dies, the child will still have to pay their bills. That just seems wrong to me.

  • TonyA_says

    We do have [enough] laws already. What is missing in enforcement.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    That’s not true. Just an urban legend. If it was a joint account or the child co-signed, obviously that’s a different story. But nobody other than the estate is on the hook for a dead person’s debts.

  • emanon256

    No urban legend, here are the statutes.
    I learned about this when a hospital started coming after me for my dads medical bills after his stroke.

  • emanon256

    @Christopher_Elliott,I wrote a really interesting (IMHO) reply to this and it was deleted, any reason why?

  • I haven’t been able to monitor the discussion until now. I’ll see if it’s maybe gone to the spam filter.

  • emanon256

    I’ve spent almost a year trying to close my fathers Wells Fargo credit card. He had the stroke September 2011 and I have power of attorney for him. Wells Fargo let me access his bank account, but not the credit card. They keep saying that credit cards offer special protections and I can not see the balance, see the transactions, or close the account even with power of attorney. All I want to do is see what the reoccurring charges are, contact the vendors and shut them down, pay it off, and close it.

    I hired an attorney who drafted a letter to WF Legal along with my PoA and they still refuse. So my options were to sue them which could cost thousands, or simply not pay his card. So I decided to not pay it. They kept charging him fees and eventually canceled his card. Oh well. They will never get that money now.

  • Whenever I receive a call I don’t want, I tell the caller to put me on their do not call list. The problem? I kept getting spam phone calls from a Wells Fargo recording (I unfortunately had a business relationship with them), so there was no one to yell at on the other end of the line! Instead, I mapped the number on my cell phone to “no ring”. It’s not a foolproof strategy, but I’ve never been targeted by spammers who change the numbers they are calling from.

  • backprop

    Interesting, I just wrote Christopher with the exact same scam. After she three-way called Citi with me (because the expired number I gave her wasn’t working…poor thing!) I told the Citi rep that the call was a phishing scammer and asked if she could trace the scammer’s number. The scammer subsequently called back several times and threatened to kill me. Each time, the number was in different area codes, so it was obviously spoofed. The police can’t do anything, the phone company (it’s mobile phone) says it can’t do anything, the attorney general’s office somehow doesn’t understand the problem, and my congresspeople are in the telemarketers’ pockets.

    As soon as I can figure out how I can legally pursue the death threats, I will make sure to file a civil suit against the company for no-call violations.

  • backprop

    I think it’s spoofing. Look up “DramaTel” to see a hilarious infomercial that shows how anyone can spoof their caller ID. In one case, one of the “cardmember services” calls came from MY phone, which is why I guess it was spoofed.

  • marco xetal

    In Brazil, if you are in a Don’t Call List, even if you have a business with some conpany, they cannot call you.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Sorry for the confusion. I thought we were still talking about inheriting the debts of the deceased. That’s not what filial responsibility laws are about. They deal with the living, specifically indigent parents. Children can be held accountable for indigent parents’ medical and nursing home costs in some cases.

    Are they using them to go after children after a parent has died? The examples I looked up all seemed to deal with parents who were alive receiving long-term care. It sounds like your example also dealt with a parent that was still living.

  • marco xetal

    I have a friend who was receiving a lot of unsolicited calls from a cell company askig him to change to it.
    One day, he told he agrees to change. They called him how much calls he used to make, he told about 6~7k minutes per month. The caller was astonished, told him that with this amount of minutes he as elegible for an iPhone and an iPad, he agreed, and they asked him his address. He told: Detention House, Pavillion 2, Cell 341. They asked for confirmation, he confirmed, they asked if he works there, he told no, it is my residence, I live here. They replied “Sorry, I cannot sell you a line”, and hang out.
    He never received any other call offering a cell line from this company….

  • emanon256

    Okay, thats my mistake then. I thought it carried forward after death too. In my case my father is still alive, but owes a lot of money to a hospital. They are trying to collect from me since my father only has Social Security income and can’t pay the bill. I am still not sure why his insurance won’t pay, but thats a whole other ball of wax. Fortunately after meeting with the same attorney I met with for his power of attorney issues, they said there is no law in our state that makes me liable, but the hospital billing department seems to think otherwise. They have backed off since the attorney got involved as well.

  • StarKiller

    I saw one report where Indian fake debt scammers were repeatedly calling someone using different numbers in the caller ID, including her own SSN.

  • StarKiller

    FTC is Do Not Call and Telemarketing Sales Rule

    FCC is Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Hmm. Wrote FTC originally. Then thought about it and then changed it. Double-checked my bookmark: and saw FTC in lower middle paragraph. You’re right.
    Can we agree that I needed more caffeine? :)

  • Stephen0118

    I just wish the Do Not Call List also applies to charities.

  • Edward Boston

    Could also be that BB switched to CitiBank because HSBC sold their US Credit Card division to CitiBank. :)

  • sfarrell1007

    I get those stupid “Rachel” calls also. They usually seem to come at meal times. So the last few times, I’ve pressed “1” to speak to a live operator, and then proceeded to ask her for HER home phone number. She always stumbles a bit, (I’m sure my request throws her off script), then I ask her again, and she asked why I would want it. “So I can call you every day at bteakfast,, lunch and dinner, and ask you stupid questions. Now take me off your list immediately. They always hang up on me. I’m still getting calls. I hate “Rachel”.

  • cahdot

    do not call list is a joke everyone has an exemption especially the fraternal order of police i get so many calls from this union organizer to help them with $$for their lobbying efforts for the union…. there should be a better way anyone who is a so called charitable entity is also exempt so the calls keep coming

  • TMMao

    You should use it to purchase cat toys, food, vet bills, etc. Then when your cat doesn’t make a payment, have the bank try to collect from it.

  • Jantjie

    Activate call forwarding just before 4 oclock to .. Chase.. see what happens.. Good luck

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