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PayPal apologizes after telling dead woman she's in breach of contract

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PayPal likes to get paid, even if you're dead. The online payments system has apologized after mailing a letter to a woman in the United Kingdom three weeks after her death was reported to the company, CBS Seattle reports.

Lindsay Durdle, who lived in West Berkshire, England, died of cancer in May at the age of 37. Her husband, Howard, informed PayPal of her death three weeks ago, the BBC reports. He provided PayPal with copies of her death certificate, her will and his ID, as requested.

PayPal replied with a letter addressed to his late wife, informing her she still had an unpaid balance in her account and that her death constituted a breach of contract. It was headlined: "Important: You should read this notice carefully."

"We have received notice that you are deceased… We are entitled to close your account, terminate your agreement and demand repayment of the full amount," the notice reads, according to Howard, who posted the letter on Twitter.

Durdle had a balance of about £3,200, or $4,200, according to the letter, which said that PayPal intended to "take action."

PayPal has since apologized, according to Howard. "I just hope more orgs can apply empathy and common sense to avoid hurting the recently bereaved," the grieving husband wrote on July 10.

He told BBC that PayPal blamed the letter on one of three causes: a bug, a bad letter template or human error.

"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," he told the BBC. 

He added that PayPal had told him it would not be able to share the cause behind the letter's mailing because it was an "internal matter."

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