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

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By Christopher Elliott

Kimberly O’Connell’s mother died two years ago, and not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of her. That’s because Chase calls her phone with an automatic account notification for her deceased mother. At 4 a.m. Can’t they make the daily calls stop?

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. (Related: I canceled my cruise, but my $19,148 credit card claim is lost at sea.)

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.

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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. (Related: How do I get T-Mobile to stop billing my dead friend?)

By the way, all emails at Chase follow the format firstname.lastname@jpmchase.com – so Dimon’s is jamie.dimon@jpmchase.com. 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. (Here’s how to fix your own consumer problem.)

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.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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