The Delicate Art of After-Death Debt Collections
Debt collectors have been known to use various techniques to secure payment, some of which violated the Fair Debt Collection practices act (FDPCA). This can include pestering debtors, their friends, relatives and co-workers with calls at inappropriate times and places. In other cases, debt collections for debts of the dead, can rise from the grave too, but in ways that they shouldn’t. Debt collectors have been known to call loved ones and others to pay off the debts of their dearly departed. Is this outrageous? We think so.
Aside from being callous, post-mortem debt collector calls are deceptive as relatives of the deceased are typically not responsible for the debts, unless the debt was joint among the deceased and the living. Playing on the lack of knowledge of the average consumer, and perhaps believing that the memory of the deceased would be tarnished in some way, debt collection agencies will call relatives and try sympathy tactics to convince the living that they should or must pay off a debt. The debt collector may not actually inform the bereaved that they have to pay the debt, but they will read from a script that is convincing enough to give that impression and to omit the fact that the living are not required to pay it.
Debt collection agencies justify such tactics with a cold heart and insensitive mentality, taking advantage of loved ones still saddened by the passing. Consumers beware: in the vast majority of cases, you need not pay the debt of someone who has passed. Check with a good consumer lawyer and find out how to protect yourself and to stop this practice.