Misdelivered bill payments inspire Callahan woman to become ‘credit angel’

Dozens of checks destined for Charlotte land in local woman’s P.O. Box over last 5 years -- and she’s tracking down the senders

Dozens of Chase credit card members'' payments have been sent to the wrong address for years. The address is a couple that has tried to alert USPS and Chase services since 2016.

CALLAHAN, Fla. – When you pay a bill and send it off in the mail, you expect it to end up in the right hands, at least you hope it does.

That’s not the case for dozens of Chase credit card members whose payments have ended up at the wrong address for years at no fault of their own.

“Their letters are taking a vacation in Florida instead of going to Chase card services,” said Mary Ann Salis.

Since 2016 Salis and her husband have received dozens of payments addressed to Card Member Services at P.O. Box 1423 Charlotte, North Carolina.

The problem is Salis lives in Callahan, Florida -- 374 miles south of Charlotte.

“I’m getting people’s payments and they’re getting a late fee,” said Salis.

Salis at first just sent the payments back, but after the fourth one, she realized there was a pattern and started keeping track. Since then, she’s documented more than a dozen over the last five years.

And lately, she’s taken her efforts a step beyond keeping track -- she’s tracking down the senders to let them know their payments have taken a vacation to Callahan, Florida, and they could be in for a late fee from the credit card company.

She told News4Jax some of the voices on the other end of the line have been quite friendly when she called -- despite the bad news.

The issue seems to be that Salis’ P.O. Box in Callahan shares the same number as the Chase Services P.O. Box in Charlotte: 1423.

News4Jax reached out to the U.S. Postal Service about the problem and received this statement.

“In this specific case, local management at the Callahan Post Office is committed to taking the appropriate steps to ensure delivery is handled properly. This includes verification of all mail for the P.O. Box in question.”

Mark Dimondstein, the union president who represents postal carriers, said the mistake is actually pretty simple to make.

“If it’s Chase printed on the envelope and they’re reading it wrong, all they’re really doing is spraying the wrong barcode,” he explained, describing how an incorrect barcode could be printed on the envelope that would then misdirect it from the Charlotte P.O. Box to the one in Callahan.

Dimondstein said if the return address inside the clear window in an envelope is not lined up perfectly, then the USPS scanner may not be able to read it correctly, which results in the wrong barcode being printed on the envelope, and the letter is sent to the wrong address.

While Dimondstein said he cannot be sure if that’s the problem, Salis said she has written to USPS and Chase services since 2016 alerting them to the ongoing issue.

“Their solution was to put a note on my P.O. Box,” she said.

Salis said that solved the problem for a few months.

Two months ago, she received another letter from Butch’s Pizza in Morton, Illinois.

“I feel so responsible because I depend on the United States Postal Service to get my bills paid,” Salis said.

And seeing this side of the problem makes her wonder if her own bills have ever gotten lost this way.

Chase Services told News4Jax it contacted USPS to resolve the issue, which, for now, seems to be fixed. Salis said since News4Jax contacted Chase Services and USPS about the issue, she hasn’t received an errant letter in the last month.

If she gets another one, she said, she’s ready to track down the owner again: a true Credit Angel.

About the Authors:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.