Amex Thinks You're Your Mother, Refuses To Change Its Mind

A big part of one’s psychological development is building an individual identity that is distinct from one’s parents. So it’s a bit of a setback for Yuriy when Amex has him confused with his mother. He has an Amex card that’s attached to his social security number, but somehow his mother is the legal name on the account and the statements are addressed to her. Dealing with customer service has been fruitless. Is Amex trying to induce a Psycho-esque syndrome in Norman, er, I mean, Yuriy?

Here’s the EECB Yuriy wrote to a list of top-level execs at American Express:

I have had some interesting problems with large companies in the past, but this one is easily the most bizarre.

Earlier this year, I signed up for an American Express Gold Rewards card after receiving a very good offer in the mail and have been happily using my card. At some point, I realized that emails regarding statements and promotions were being addressed to “Valerie” (my mother’s name) rather than “Yuriy” (my name). We have the same last name. My mother does not have an American Express card nor does she have anything to do with this account. There is no direct way for her to have been associated with the account.

When I called American Express to report the problem, the CSR told me that the name was correct. After 10 minutes of searching, he discovered that, indeed, “Valerie” was the “legal name” on the account, even though that name does not have a card associated with it. Also, the Social Security number on the account is mine, not hers. I was promised a call back, but that never happened. Since then, I have tried to get this fixed several times, however I get transferred between departments and told that they have no way of fixing the problem.

Most recently I realized that “Valerie” is now an alternative name on my credit report, which I consider to be a very serious problem. Nobody at American Express is willing to help me fix it.

I hope you can help.

- Yuriy

You might be able to get this solved by continuing to escalate it. Or you could do the following: Have your mother call up and cancel the card. Then file a dispute with each of the three credit card bureaus in order to get her name removed from your credit report. It sounds like unnecessary work but in the end it will probably take less time than trying to convince Amex to fix its mistake. Here’s how to get started disputing credit report errors.