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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My husband and I took out an AMEX credit card in October 2005

Customer Question

My husband and I took out an AMEX credit card in October 2005 at the airport on our way to our holiday. my husband took ill on the holiday and died in England on 15 November. We never used the credit card. From then until 2009 we did not receive any replacement cards or letters from AMEX and then in August 2009 they informed us that there would be a dormancy fee. I wrote to them on 17 August after telephoning the company to ask their advice and followed that advice by informing them in writing of my husband's death and asking that both credit cards be cancelled. I did not hear anything back from them and assumed that they had acted on my letter. In April 2011 they sent me a renewal card in my husband's name. I spoke to the company and referred them to my previous letters and they said that they would need a photocopy of my husband's death certificate. I responded by letter and said how upset I was at what I perceived was their callousness and ineficiency and reminded them that both cards had never been used and I could not understand their attitude and refused to send them a copy of his death certificate. I have today received a letter from American Express informing me that I had missed two payments of £5.00 i.e. payment due 14/11/2012 and 14/12/2012 and informing me that my husband needed to pay this amounto to avoid breaching his card agreement. Can you help?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
How can I help with this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


FOR JOMO1972 What should I do next. It seems every two years I have a letter from them and they are now demanding my husband send payment of £10.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I do not want to pay a monthly subscription I cannot afford it. I was prepared to pay the £33 to get instant advice

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
OK.

Did you cancel the card?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I dont know how to cancel it.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Is this in both your names or just his?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Just his

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
That is fairly good news then.

Although your husband may well have been liable because the card was not cancelled and it's probably on a rolling contract, it doesn't really matter because you are not the liable person.

The card was in your husbands sole name. That means he is the only liable person. They cannot make you liable for his debts. The only claim that may have existed is against his estate and if he died in 2005 then that will have been resolved now anyway.

In any event, there may have been limitation issues here. It's difficult to say really because they are probably saying that it is an ongoing debt because there is a live contract but it still doesn't matter because there's no claim against you.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69360
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I suspected that that was the case, the real question is what I can do to stop them sending me these letters.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
There's no way you can stop them writing to you. They are perfectly free to write to you even if they are wrong in law.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I have written cancelling the card but they say that I should send a copy of his death certificate. There was no balance outstanding and I am not going to lie about my husband dying. He never used the card so I refused on the grounds that there was no balance. They are not writing to me it is addressed to my husband.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
So what you like to know about that?

Also, please rate my answer and then I will be happy to continue for free.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Are they entitled to ask for a death certificate to cancel a credit card.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
It depends on the terms of the contract but probably the cancellation is not within them and so a death certificate is a lawful request.

But it really doesn't matter. They cannot enforce against you. They cannot realistically claim against his estate now. Whether they agree to cancel or not, there is no viable defendant to sue.

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