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

PayPal apologizes for telling woman her death violated account policies

Howard Durdle was contacted by the "insensitive" company, which claimed the death of Mr Durdle's wife, Lindsay, constituted a "breach" of their rules.

It continued: 'Dear Mrs Lindsay Durdle, This is a default notice served under section 87 (1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

But Mr Durdle became distressed as he read the letter headed: 'Important: You should read this notice carefully'. When she died, there was an outstanding balance on her PayPal account of £3,200 (US$4,240).

"You are in breach of condition 15.4 (c) of your agreement with PayPal Credit as we received notice that you are deceased...this breach is not capable of remedy", the letter, which the BBC posted a portion online, said.

Noting that "this breach is not capable of remedy", the U.S. firm, which operates a worldwide online payments system, threatened to take action after July 20 to collect the full payment for the outstanding balance.

On May 31, United Kingdom resident Lindsay Durdle, aged 37, passed away due to cancer. Her husband, Howard Durdle, informed PayPal of her death last month.

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 feels that he is in a "reasonable place" at the moment.

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

According to Mr. Durdle, PayPal let him know there were three possibilities in play with how something like this could have happened - a bug, a bad letter template, or human error, though to think a human could have looked at the situation and thought sending this was still a good idea is a bit disconcerting.

"But 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".

PayPal, in a statement to Fortune, said: "We apologize profusely for the understandable distress this letter has caused. We have also urgently reviewed the company's internal processes to ensure this does not happen again".

PayPal always comes to collect your debt, a British man has discovered in a grievous manner, after the USA company threatened action against his wife, who recently died of cancer, for the "breach of contract for being deceased".

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