NOT-A-BANK Paypal has been forced to apologise after sending a letter to a recently deceased woman to tell her that her death broke her credit agreement with the company.
Lindsay Durdle, who died of breast cancer in May, was sent an automated response after her widower, Howard, forwarded the death certificate and other documentation requested to close her account.
Instead of an acknowledgement, he received a reply addressed to Mrs Durdle, stating that she owed £3,200 and warning: "Important: You should read this notice carefully."
It said that Mrs Durdle owed the company about £3,200, and the warning letter went on to say: "You are in breach of condition 15.4(c) of your agreement with PayPal Credit as we have received notice that you are deceased... this breach is not capable of remedy."
In other words, PayPal had sent a threatening letter to Mrs Durdle telling her that her death was in breach of its policies. Even in the age of automation where sometimes these things happen… these things just don't happen usually.
PayPal has done the whole mea culpa thing, apologising and stating that they will look into the issue as a priority and are supporting Mr Durdle through the process presumably with offers of sales that may interest him.
Although there have been many automated letters or bills generated in the past that have caused confusion or upset, this one was slightly different because this wasn't a bill, it was a full threatening letter where the recipient was actually dead.
Mr Durdle has been told that the issue could be a bug, a bad template or a human error - our money is on the latter - a human did the same thing they did for every other case, and it triggered the letter because there was no escape loop in the procedure to not print the letter.
The case only came about because in this case, Mrs Durdle owed money on the account.
Mr Durdle has said that he is considering his next move, which may include legal action, with his priority in making sure that other bereaved families don't get the same treatment, not just from PayPal but from anyone. μ
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