PayPal was forced to apologize after sending a letter to a woman who had died of cancer claiming her death “breached its rules.”
Howard Durdle, whose wife Lindsay died of cancer on May 31 at age 37, gave the mobile payments company copies of his wife’s death certificate, her will and his ID—as they had requested.
Lindsay was first diagnosed with breast cancer a year-and-a-half earlier, and the disease later spread to her lungs and brain.
He posted to Facebook the letter PayPal sent to his home in Berkshire, U.K., headlined “Important: You should read this notice carefully.”
The letter said his wife owed the company about 3,200 pounds ($4,243) and said: “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.”
“What empathy-lacking machine sent this?” Durdle asked in his post.
PayPal has since said the letter was “insensitive,” apologized to the widower and launched a probe into how the letter was sent in the first place.
“We apologize to Mr. Durdle for the distress this letter has caused,” the PayPal spokesman said, reports BBC.
Durdle told the British news channel that PayPal had given three possible explanations: a bug, a bad letter template or human error.
However, PayPal also reportedly told him it would not be able to share the information because it was an “internal matter.”
“I’m in a reasonable place at the moment—I’ve got quite a level head on my shoulders—and am quite capable of dealing with paperwork like this,” Mr Durdle, who is a member of the charity group Widowed and Young, said.
He continued: “If I’m going to make any fuss about this at all, it’s to make sure that PayPal, or any other organization that might do this kind of insensitive thing, recognizes the damage they can cause the recently bereaved.”