PayPal threatens to sue a cancer victim for dying, a "breach" of its rules

Usually late payments etc. are pretty much routine, with little room for judgment. I have no issue with late notices, penalty payments, etc. I didn’t have any with the notices that my 401(k) loans ended with my separation either – pay them off one way or another and it’s done.

This one – death of the account-holder – should be rare enough to get a review. Not because her estate didn’t owe the money, but because it’s cruel to the surviving spouse. Decency doesn’t have to be expensive.


Pics or it did not happen. Paypal having humans that are contactable? Nah, it’ll never take off.

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I’ve had pretty good experiences with them. It’s easy to get a human on the phone. The humans are knowledgable, helpful, and compassionate. They’ve also protected us from four instances of fraud so far this year.

The guy shared this story with the BBC to prompt companies like PayPal to be more thoughtful about the notices they send out following a death, and in PayPal’s case it really seems like it worked. Not to mention that they wrote off a 3200 pound ($4200) debt for the price of a phone call by the woman’s husband. That’s a pretty compassionate recovery from a bumbling start on PayPal’s part.


One thing to consider is, at least under US law, your debts go with you to the grave… unless your relatives “affirm” the debt, which keeps it alive for the next person. For a mortgage or an auto loan, it might make sense for the grieving spouse to keep the mortgage going, rather than face foreclosure.

But credit cards are what we call unsecured debt. If you default, they can’t repo the things you bought; they’re just out of luck. It makes no sense to affirm credit card debt, and they work very hard to get you to do it. This seems like somebody at PayPal might have been trying to get the husband to pick up his wife’s debt. Or it could be, yknow, a mistake.


Okay, this is dumb. Not about the PayPal incident, that is horrendous, but how does one reply to more than one person at a time? At one time a pop up asked me if I wanted to do s and I thought, “Why would I want to do that?” But nw I want to do that. For the love of god someone please help me.


What you say may be true for you. For avoidance of doubt I am not disputing it by saying ‘may’ - it is true for you, but perhaps not others. I am tired of reading umpteen gazillion “Paypal froze my account/dumped a chargeback onme, etc., because some scumbag lied about not receiving goods” stories, which never seem to end well for the injured party and rarely, if ever, involve a human being looking at the facts (rather than a process following blind rules) to take actions that anyone else would consider obvious, even assuming they can get a human to look at it beyond saying ‘them’s the rules’, if you are lucky. It may (I speculate) be better now, but when part of eBay it was certainly a very common complaint and yours is the first comment I have ever seen that depicts Paypal as a rational and individual complainant-oriented service. I certainly hope it is a trend! :wink:


I just highlight the text in the comment I want to reply to, and choose to quote. There may be a better way, but I haven’t tried to find it.

Hmmm. I wonder if that particular law will last beyond this administration?


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Hmm - tough one. If we are talking Trumpty Dumpty’s debts, chances are that law will remain. But corp’ns would love to get greater recourse to debt recovery in instances where currently they may not.

Then again, corp’ns are people, too, aren’t they? And when they die, they do tend to leave a lot of debt behind…


As a point of reference, just about every payment processor will stick you when there’s a chargeback. PayPal is the one most individuals are familiar with, but for businesses there are hundreds of others. PayPal is more forgiving than any of the other processors I’ve worked with. Not only will the others uniformly decide chargebacks against the seller, but they’ll also charge the seller a penalty fee for the chargeback. Crazy behavior considering the gateway/processor are the ones who allowed the charge to go through.

A few years ago we had a batch of orders come in from Algeria. We shipped the first order, it was delivered in Algeria, and then BAM, a chargeback. Shipping address was Algeria, billing address was incorrect, buyer attempted multiple totally different cards before one went through. The successful credit card belonged to someone from Australia. Seems like all of that should have been a red flag to the gateway/processor, but no. They allowed the transaction to go through, decided the chargeback against us, and charged us a penalty for the chargeback.

Counterpoint: we just finished a chargeback process with PayPal. Customer in Idaho ordered some gear, received the gear, then opened a chargeback saying he didn’t place the order. The gear was shipped to his billing address on the card, no less. We gave PayPal the tracking information for the shipment and told them the customer is welcome to return the merchandise for a full refund and we’ll cover return shipping. PayPal said we met all their requirements for seller protection and they will cover any costs or penalties associated with the transaction.


On the contrary, the debt does not just “vanish” because you are dead, unless your debts exceed your assets. Paying off creditors from the assets is a normal and well established part of handling the estate of the deceased. The fact that Paypal forgave the debt rather than trying to get it from the estate is part of what convinces me that this was a mistake rather than an on purpose. There’s simply too much money involved for forgiveness to be the SOP.


There is a strong taboo associated with death in culture of perpetual youth

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My understanding is that most systems simply aren’t designed with the full life-cycle of their human users in mind. Glad to see I’m not the only one who has noticed this.

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Making it even harder to escape student loan debt. “Death does not release you!”

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I wonder when they will propose, to “encourage organ donation”, that for each organ used your outstanding debt is reduced by the “fair market value” of said organ; otherwise it goes to your relatives?

It will be a great way for the rich to harvest the organs of the indentured.

Then again… why wait?

“And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, because there’s bugger-all down here on earth!”


This is terrible and PayPal needs to do better. That said, I don’t see anything in the article where PayPal threatened to sue or to engage in “court action”. It’s possible the letter does do that, but not in the part excerpted in the article.

It’s a terrible example of a template being used inappropriately, but let’s stick to the facts we know.

I opened a reply, then highlighted your text (quoted) and clicked “Quote.” Then I scrolled to my original comment, highlighted

And clicked “Quote” on that. I typed in this and the above original material, and launched it.

Well, yeah – but your estate (there’s always something) still owes them. It may not be worth going to collection, but it’s still owed. For some of us geezers it may be a fair bit in the estate, so, yeah.

You’re right I was careless.

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Finally proof that Paypal aren’t good Christians!