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Be sure to cancel your credit cards before you die

There’s a true story circling the internet that I’ve seen twice in the past few months and so I thought it worth sharing.

A lady died in January, and the bank billed her for their annual service charges on her credit card for February and March.  When these were unpaid, the bank added late fees and penalty interest fees on top of the monthly charge.  The balance had been $0.00 and is now over $60.00, and increasing every month, so her nephew calls the bank:

Nephew: “Hello there.  My aunt died recently, and I am calling to tell you that she died as you keep mailing charges to her.”

Bank: “Well, the account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.”

Nephew: “Maybe you should turn it over to collections.”

Bank: “Since it is over two months past due, it already has been.”

Nephew: “So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?”

Bank: “Either report her account to the frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both.”

Nephew: “Do you think God will be mad at her?”

Bank: “Excuse me?”

Nephew: “Did you just get what I was telling you . . . The part about her being dead?”

Bank: “Sir, you’ll have to speak to my supervisor.”

Supervisor gets on the phone.

Nephew: “Hi.  I’m calling about my aunt and am trying to tell you that she died in January.”

Bank: “Well, the account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.”

Nephew: “You mean you want to collect from her estate?”

Bank: (Stammer) “Are you her lawyer?”

Nephew: “No, I’m her nephew.”

Bank: “Could you fax us a certificate of death?”

Nephew: “Sure.”

After they get the fax.

Bank: “Our system just isn’t set up for death, sir. I don’t know what more I can do to help.”

Nephew: “Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. I don’t think she will care.”

Bank: “Well, the late fees and charges do still apply.”

Nephew: “Would you like her new billing address?”

Bank: “That might help.”

Nephew: “Rookwood Memorial Cemetery, 1249 Centenary Road, Plot Number 1049.”

Bank: “Sir, that’s a cemetery!”

Nephew: “Well, what do you do with dead people on your planet?”

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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  • guru_raghavan

    I agree with you. I did have a similar experience. But with a difference. The bank raised debit in my card account inadvertently and in the subsequent month reversed. Since this amount was outstanding for a month they charged over due interest (about Rs.12) and every month thereafter they charged penalty (Rs.100). I had to send a nasty mail to reverse the entries or face my card surrender. The threat worked and they reversed the entries. Your posts reflect the true market experience. Please continue this good work! Dr Guru Raghavan, Hyderabad, India

  • guru_raghavan

    I agree with you. I did have a similar experience. But with a difference. The bank raised debit in my card account inadvertently and in the subsequent month reversed. Since this amount was outstanding for a month they charged over due interest (about Rs.12) and every month thereafter they charged penalty (Rs.100). I had to send a nasty mail to reverse the entries or face my card surrender. The threat worked and they reversed the entries. Your posts reflect the true market experience. Please continue this good work! Dr Guru Raghavan, Hyderabad, India