American Express keeps sending her information about someone else’s account

Chaya Friedman is receiving emails about another American Express customer. Can I make them stop?

Question: American Express keeps sending me information about someone else’s account.  I have contacted the company numerous times through its website and on the phone over the past year, but American Express seems unable or unwilling to correct the problem.  I don’t even have an American Express card anymore, but the emails keep coming. Help! — Chaya Friedman, Des Plaines, Ill.

Answer: That’s not only highly annoying, but troubling. A company shouldn’t be sending you any information about another customer. If it does, and you tell it, the company should do everything in its power to stop immediately — not just for the sake of your sanity, but also for the sake of the other customer’s privacy.

But American Express is a big and sometimes bureaucratic company, as are most corporations of that size. While the will may have been there, the way was not. So your repeated requests by email and phone simply got bounced between departments. That’s not good customer service, even for someone who used to be a customer.

American Express claims to be committed to protecting your details. “At American Express, we are committed to safeguarding your privacy,” it notes in the lengthy privacy statement on its site. Yet a closer read of its policy reveals that it reserves the right to share your personal information with a long list of entities, including other businesses within the American Express family, service providers, financial institutions, co-brand partners, or Chaya Friedman. I’m kidding about the last one, but with these privacy statements, nothing would surprise me.

Related story:   My "protection plan" didn't protect my move -- now what?

One of American Express’ other promises is to serve its customers, “24/7, around the world.” That clearly did not happen here, either.

You could have appealed this to someone higher up at American Express. I list the names, numbers and email addresses for the top customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site.

I contacted American Express on your behalf and recommended that you also reach out to the executives at the company. No response. Finally, I contacted American Express to let it know I would be writing about your misadventure. Only then did the company delete your email address from its database — hopefully once and for all.

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.

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