PayPal had been sent copies of her death certificate and her will, and Mr Durdle's contact details - but sent the letter anyway.
The company recently sent a letter to a deceased woman explaining that her death violated PayPal's terms and conditions, and promising to use debt collectors to reclaim her outstanding account balance. As Motherboard reported in 2016, at least in the USA, debt collectors have become adept at harassing recently bereaved families of the dead to put them in contact with estate administrators or even personally repay debts, even when they have no legal obligation to pay up.
PayPal immediately apologized for the gaffe and said it's treating the situation as a "priority" as it figures out what happened.
His motivation was that he wants corporations to realize how upsetting it is to receive their automated correspondence, especially considering his wife had passed away so young at age 37 on May 31.
Consequently, Mr. Durdle received a payment notice yesterday at his residence in Bucklebury, West Berkshire, addressed to his wife. When she died, there was an outstanding balance on her PayPal account of £3,200 (US$4,240).
The firm has since acknowledged that the letter was "insensitive", apologised to her widower, and begun an inquiry into how it came to be sent. Adding insult to injury, it read, "Important: You should read this notice carefully". "We are entitled to close your account, terminate your agreement and demand repayment of the full amount", the notice reads according to Durdle's husband Howard, who posted the letter on social media.
"We apologize to Mr. Durdle for the distress this letter has caused", a spokesman said. As soon as we became aware of this mistake, we contacted Mr Durdle directly to offer our support, cleared the outstanding debt and closed down his wife's account as he requested.
Mr Durdle has been told that the issue could be a bug, a bad template or a human error - our money is on the latter - a human did the same thing they did for every other case, and it triggered the letter because there was no escape loop in the procedure to not print the letter. "We are urgently reviewing our internal processes to ensure this does not happen again", a PayPal spokesperson said in a statement obtained by The Next Web.
"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", the husband said.