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An open letter to Daniel Schulman CEO of PayPal – 4th January 2018

An open letter to Daniel Schulman CEO of PayPal

Dear Mr Schulman,

Dealing with the death of your partner at a young age due to Cancer is an extremely difficult time (and that’s putting it mildly) as is the case with any bereavement that your customer’s will suffer.

Whilst dealing with my late wife’s estate I was surprised that a Financial Organisation that is global and the size of PayPal doesn’t have a robust bereavement process or team to handle such cases, in fact your customer services departments have both been insensitive, untrained, and quite rude.

In my case, I have spent the last year trying to close my late wife’s PayPal account which had a zero balance.  Neither I or your customer services representations were able to locate a bereavement notification process within PayPal’s help system.  I contacted PayPal customer services both by messaging and telephone.  The responses received shocked me…

  • You will need your wife to contact us to close the account.
    • My wife died of Cancer how do you expect her to call in the afterlife?
  • “I know how you feel, I’m going through a divorce…”
    • WTF, don’t even try and compare grief.
  • We don’t know what to do as we’ve never had to deal with bereavement notification before.
  • Can you email the death certificate to our generic customer services email address?
  • Can you fax it to the following number?
    • We won’t receive the fax and wouldn’t know if you sent it in…

Mr Schulman, here in the UK, faxing died a death in corporate land during the late 90’s, most modern computers no longer have a built-in fax-modem.

Emailing a legal document via an unencrypted insecure email address is inappropriate and unacceptable.

Apparently, there isn’t a mechanism to securely transfer the legal documentation to PayPal! Nor is there a data protection statement for the handling and storage of such sensitive documents.

Mr Schulman,

PayPal whilst a world leader in digital payments and business, frankly has not got a proper bereavement team in place to handle cases like this with family members sensitively and efficiently.  Why is this? Why has your company made a painful experience so poor? Other financial institutions have proper process, proper teams in place for dealing with this and yet PayPal appears not to, or is unknown to its customer services team…

I am asking you to implement globally the following: –

  • A properly defined and structured process for bereavement notification on accounts.
  • Proper bereavement handling team.
    • Trained in dealing with sensitive cases and people in grief closing down accounts.
  • A secure digital channel for submitting legal paperwork such as Death Certificate, Grant of Probate etc.
    • Fax is not appropriate in many developed countries.


It should not take a year battling to close an account with zero balance (let alone any balance) of the deceased.  Please close my late wife’s account.

I shouldn’t have to resort to social media for your company to implement proper accessible controls that other financial organisations have to comply with here in the UK (and globally).

An apology from you on behalf for making this experience so difficult and poor.

I thank you for your time in addressing this issue.

Yours Sincerely,

Jason Brooks (Widower)

1 Comment »

  1. I encountered similar problems while trying to close a PayPal account relating to my father – who died in July. As you say, the website gives no guidance to next of kin. Only by chance was I able to locate a UK customer service number, and each time it took several attempts for its voice recognition software to understand that I was trying to close an account for a dead person. I also received the suggestion that I should fax something, but when I rejected this as antiquated, I was at least referred to what appeared to be a secure document transfer system (not email). Finally after five months, the small remaining balance in my father’s account was transferred to my account – altogether a painful experience unfit for a 21st century financial service organisation.

    Liked by 1 person

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