PayPal sends widowed man letter saying wife 'breached contract' by dying

12 Juillet, 2018, 02:35 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Howard Durdle was taken last year

Howard Durdle, from West Berkshire, UK, received a letter addressed to his wife, Lindsay, following her death from cancer in May, telling her she faced potential legal action.

Mr Durdle is raising funds through a JustGiving page to honour his late wife and "give back to the organisations that helped her through her cancer diagnosis treatment".

He said he was "quite capable of dealing with paperwork like this". It read, "This is a default notice served under section 87 (1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974".

It stated that Lindsay had an outstanding balance of £3,240.72 - or about $4,300.

The letter goes on to state that "the breach is not capable of remedy", and PayPal may take legal proceedings, restrict credit limits, and/or instruct debt collection agencies to collect repayments.

He said that the automated messages can be quite distressing and he wanted to make other organisations aware of that fact.

He said: 'I'm a member of the charity Widowed and Young, and I've seen first-hand in there how a letter like this or something like it can completely derail somebody.

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"If I'm going to make any fuss about this at all, it's to make sure that PayPal - or any other organisation that might do this kind of insensitive thing - recognises the damage they can cause the recently bereaved". He provided the online payments service with copies of her death certificate, her will and his ID, as requested.

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 contacted PayPal over the letter, who told him it would have been sent out due to either a bug, a bad letter template or a human error, the BBC reported.

PayPal immediately apologized for the gaffe and said it's treating the situation as a "priority" as it figures out what happened. He was told the company would deal with it but couldn't learn details because it was an "internal matter".

At least they did manage to write off the debt.

PayPal has since said that the letter was "insensitive", apologised to her husband, and is now working out how it was sent.

In the time since, TNW contacted PayPal and we were told by a representative that the company is taking the matter very seriously.

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