Friday, 10 February 2012

No jokes jones

Life is hard. That's a truism and a cliché. But surely it isn't supposed to be this hard? I've come to the conclusion that it is me. I must be doing it.

This week I received a letter from a company called "Premium First" (or more properly Creation Correspondence Finance Ltd, they appear to be in a period of transition). Except I didn't Kelly did. It appears to be some sort of insurance finance agreement. They're asking for about £90. I have no idea what it is for. But there are account details so I phone them up and explain that Kelly has died. I hate having to do this. The feeling are still very raw and articulating it makes it very difficult. However, most people, on the phone at least proffer some sort of social nicety, an "I'm sorry to hear that" sort of thing. "Premium First/Creation" don't bother with that sort of nonsense. For the first time ever I'm met with silence followed by an "And how can I help you?".

That got me on the back foot, slightly. I've been on the other side of those phone-calls, not for this company, but for other insurance companies. There is a social contract there, it is a social situation of sorts, whereby, if you're a human being and someone tells you that someone that they love has died you blurt out a pleasantry. You can't help it, as insincere as it is. It's a human response. It's also good business practice, especially in an insurance company.

So I was somewhat wrong-footed. So I carried on. What is this for? I cant tell you. Why cant you tell me? We only claim back the money, sir. We aren't the insurance company. So what you're saying you want £90 but you wont tell me what it relates to or who it's for? It's Data protection, sir. We can't tell you. Well how are you going to get your money? Kelly is dead and doesnt have any money. Are you going to sue her? How do we resolve this? Could you send us her death certificate.

So you're saying that you are asking for money without telling me who you are, what the money is for, you're asking me to send you my wife's death certificate and my incentive to this is to pay you the best part of £100? Why would I do it? At this point the chap terminated the call.

I received another one this morning. Still addressed to Kelly. The amount outstanding has gone up to £111. I ring them again. Again no information, the data protection act quoted, no record of my previous call and when I ask to speak to a supervisor the call is terminated again.

So, am I obliged to pay this? Do they have any legal standing? Can they sue a dead woman? Do I have any relationship with this company at all?

Does anybody know?


  1. Grrrrrr.... if you can face it, have a look at this:

    When someone dies, any debts they leave are paid out of their 'estate' (the money and property they leave behind). You're only responsible for their debts if you had a joint loan or agreement or provided a loan guarantee - you aren't automatically responsible for a husband's, wife's or civil partner's debts.


    There's also this, but seeing as it quotes phoning some FEDERAL bods it must be American, but something similar must be in place for the UK:

    Most relatives of the deceased cannot be held responsible for the deceased's debts. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, most relatives and heirs have no obligation to pay for the outstanding debt. However, if the deceased resided in a community property state, the spouse may be liable for part of the debt. Depending on state probate laws, there will be limits on how much a surviving spouse is liable to pay.

    Debt Collection Rights
    Just because a person is not responsible for the debt doesn't mean debt collectors will not try to collect. If a debt collector tries to coerce you into paying the debt unfairly, you may write to the lender or debt collector requesting that they stop contacting you. If the collection attempts continue, you may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling 877-382-4357.

  2. I just had the same link ready to paste as Trashsparkle! There is also Macmillan's forum:
    From what I can glean from the internet, you are definitely not responsible for this debt, it's just hard to make these people go away. I'll ring you later today John. Sorry for the extra indignity of having to deal with this on the 11th. Gx

  3. Thanks ladies. I suppose they get to see the death certificate after all. What a glittering prize. Don't worry Gwen I wont be able to do anything today or tomorrow as nothing is open. I shall be writing to them early next week and including some subtle threatening language. Many thanks to the pair of you, you are life, and money, savers.

  4. I believe Ann's mum got something similar when her husband dide.Scum aren't they!

  5. Who takes a job like that? Widow-worriers. They must have something specifically human missing in them.