This is probably one of the saddest, most outrageous things I’ve read in a while:

[T]oday the Times reports on a debt-collection firm that contracts with credit-card companies to go after the relatives of people who died with outstanding debts

[Relatives of the deceased] often have no legal obligation to assume the debt of a spouse, sibling or parent. But they take responsibility for it anyway…

Dead people are the newest frontier in debt collecting, and one of the healthiest parts of the industry. Those who dun the living say that people are so scared and so broke it is difficult to get them to cough up even token payments.

Collecting from the dead, however, is expanding. Improved database technology is making it easier to discover when estates are opened in the country’s 3,000 probate courts, giving collectors an opportunity to file timely claims. But if there is no formal estate and thus nothing to file against, the human touch comes into play.

This is beyond appalling. There really ought to be a law against this practice. Imagine that, right after a loved one passes away, you receive a call from a debt collector who tries to guilt-trip you into paying for debts you aren’t legally obligated to pay off. Outrageous.

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