Another week, another dead wrong mailing!

According to the Dundee Evening Telegraph a businessman feared his bank’s error could have been the death of him, literally, after they wrongly declared him deceased.

Abdul Rashid said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he read of his own demise in letters sent by brands with which he held direct debits.

Abdul said: “Several companies have written letters to me or my executors in the past two weeks saying they could no longer take direct debits from my account. They said this was because the Bank of Scotland had informed them that I had died so they could no longer accept the direct debits because I was deceased without the permission of the executor.”

One of the letters read: “Dear Mr Rashid, I would like to express my sympathy for the recent passing of the plan holder” which is him in this instance.

Another letter said: “We’re sorry to hear that Mr Rashid has passed away.”

And a third item of correspondence told him that his account had been closed because the customer – Mr Rashid – was deceased.

He said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes. What I was reading was unbelievable, I have absolutely no idea how a bank can make mistake like this. It’s very distressing and disconcerting to read about your death when you are very much alive. Fortunately none of my family or friends have received any correspondence to this effect yet but it could just be a matter of time. My daughters live in Newcastle and it would have been dreadfully upsetting for them if they had received a letter like this.”

And, while he acknowledges he might see the funny side in the future, Mr Rashid said he was concerned the cancellation of the direct debits could have potentially serious consequences for him from a business point of view in terms of impact on his credit rating.

As you can see being declared dead is incredibly upsetting and comes with many other issues, such as credit scoring, as pointed out by the victim. What is interesting though is that Mr Rashid also explains how distressing it would have been if his daughters had received the letters. Imagine, then, how distressing it is when genuinely bereaved people receive letters in the names of their loved ones that have passed away. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence with our research showing that on average bereaved people receive eight pieces of mail addressed to their deceased family members in the year following their death.

Organisations have a responsibility to minimise the upset caused to the bereaved by screening their customer data against deceased suppression solutions such as Mortascreen, which enables them to identify and remove the data of any customers that have sadly died.  

For more information about Mortascreen please don’t hesitate to contact us.