BofA Tricks People Into Paying the Dead's Bills

Bank accused of shady practices in collecting cash from bereaved relatives
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2009 7:34 AM CST
A Bank of America branch office is shown Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009 in New York.    (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – Bank of America has been misleading customers into believing they have to pay off the credit card bills of dead relatives, TPM reports. One customer was outraged when a bank rep tried to first trick, and then guilt-trip him into paying his dead mother's bills. A former rep for the bank's collection unit says that the practice is officially encouraged.

Employees in the collections unit—motivated with the prospect of big bonuses and the threat of firings—are expected to ask questions like "How do you plan on paying this?" to make customers believe they are legally obligated to pay the debt of dead relatives, the former rep said. He added that the bank encouraged workers to walk right up to the line of actively deceiving customers about the consequences of not paying.