Barraging the Bereaved.


A couple of years ago, after my dad died, my mom started to get calls from the last of his remaining credit cards about his unresolved debt. They had declared bankruptcy a few years before, but apparently he still had a card from a home shopping network with a $500 limit.

My mom, being my mom, was having none of it. She didn’t just say she wouldn’t pay, she either yelled for a manager each time or yelled until the poor person on the other end put one on just for reprieve. Finally, after steady calls that stretched over a few months, Mom spoke to someone who finally ‘fessed up. Dad had signed up for one of those “insurance” policies they sell that supposedly relieve you of repayment in the case of unemployment, illness or death. And, even if he hadn’t, she really didn’t have to pay, anyway.

Many times when I deal with credit card companies, I find that a little complaining, explanation, or just steady pressure can get you something. For the most part, until the recent collapse of all things credit, they cared more about you charging and paying, charging and paying, than they did about this or that measly fee. The fees they collect from you over the years are much higher. I’ve often thought that, without a little more self-assurance, I’d be in much worse shape than I am. And if my mom wasn’t the tough old lady she is, she would have been out about $500 at  really crappy time.

Which is why it makes me really sad to read this.*

* But not quite as sad as it made me a few years ago to read this.

  • thinking of a name

    This pretty much sums it up:

    “Death will be the end of one customer relationship but the beginning of another.”

    And this was just too much for words:

    “If a relative is more focused on denial or anger instead of, say, bargaining, the collector offers to transfer him to the human resources company Ceridian LifeWorks, where “master’s level grief counselors” are standing by. After a week, the relative is contacted again.”

    These articles is just too sad.

  • Scott

    What is wrong with the company trying to get the debt collected?

  • Scott

    Now according to AP Sen. Chuckie Schumer wants the feds to investigate. Don’t the feds have anything better to do?