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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Picking the Bones of the Dead

Debt collectors have reached an all-time low; muscling surviving family members of the recently departed for payments due, even though survivors have no obligation to pay these bills. From the New York Times:

Dead people are the newest frontier in debt collecting, and one of the healthiest parts of the industry. Those who dun the living say that people are so scared and so broke it is difficult to get them to cough up even token payments.

Collecting from the dead, however, is expanding. Improved database technology is making it easier to discover when estates are opened in the country’s 3,000 probate courts, giving collectors an opportunity to file timely claims. But if there is no formal estate and thus nothing to file against, the human touch comes into play.

This is beyond disgusting. It's not as if someone says "Hey, I'm gonna be dead in six months - let me rack up my credit cards and stick it to the bank". People DO rack up their credit cards and spend beyond their means; there's no disputing that. But to hound, no matter how gently, a grieving family member is about as low rent as one can get.


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Blogger Human said...

The Hospital that my Mother was in before they sent her home to die harassed us for over a year. They kept calling and asking for her by name. We sent the Death Certificate 2 times. Only after sending a certified letter threatening legal action against the collection agency did they stop.

title="comment permalink">March 04, 2009 3:24 PM  

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