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Friday, July 13, 2018

Company says customer breached her contract by dying

In one of these truth-is-stranger-than-fiction cases, Paypal has written a stern demand letter to a deceased customer in the UK. Apparently, according to Paypal, dying is a breach of their contract and they are not impressed. Strangely, the letter wasn't written to the executor, the spouse, or anyone else who is actually alive; it was written directly to the deceased person. And it wasn't a mistake; the letter specifically says they were writing to her because they had received notice that she had passed away. The letter asks her to read the letter carefully.

Click here to see more about this story from one of my favourite blogs of all time, called Lowering the Bar.

Every now and then I receive mail addressed to deceased persons when I've contacted a company on behalf of an estate. I've received them from insurance companies, pension administrators, and banks. It never fails to astound me when I see mail addressed to Joe Smith that refers to the fact that Joe Smith is deceased.

I can only assume that the writers of the letters are simply too lazy to figure out who else might be an appropriate addressee. Sure, it's easy just to put Joe Smith's name on the letter and not bother figuring out who is actually going to receive and open it. This can cause a lot of confusion. Recently I assisted a widow who had received a letter from her deceased's husband's pension administrator. The letter contained requests for "your will" and "your identification" etc. The widow had spent quite some time collecting, photocopying, and sending in the requested items just to have it all sent back to her. She brought the letter to me and we realized that the letter was written to her deceased husband, not to her, and was asking for HIS will and HIS identification, not hers. What a waste of time!

It's also upsetting to receive mail addressed to a deceased loved one, which is something these companies might think about when they receive notice that someone has passed away.

While the letter from Paypal is funny in a way because of its sheer idiocy, there is a real person who sent that letter and should have had more sense.

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