Ode to Bank of America, Southern California Gas and, Most of All, Nationwide


“We can’t acknowledge your sister’s death until we have a death certificate,” said the woman at the branch where my sister had done her banking. Meantime they would continue to honor automatic transfers, she assured me.

A mailing I received from the gas company complained that the bank didn’t pay their bill by automatic transfer and attached a non-payment fee. I wasn’t surprised, since many people work for large corporations and don’t know what they themselves are doing, much less what the corporation might do. Filling this gap in information seems to be modern man’s biggest challenge.

A previous letter I’d received from the gas company, in¬†response to my request that they send statements to my address instead of to my late sister’s, said they were shutting off service in seven days.

To the gas company’s second mailing–the bill that the bank didn’t pay–I attached a check and a note: “I trust you turned off service, per your letter attached. With my sister’s death, and with the condo being all electric otherwise, only the stove will cause a new owner to have gas.”

Nationwide wins in the absurdity and insensitivity contest. Less than 60 days after my sister’s death I received from them a letter that said at top *****SECOND NOTICE****** and at bottom a threat to escheat the account to the state. Mind you, under the governing California law, an estate can’t claim property until 40 days after a death. Why a *****SECOND NOTICE*****? And when does property escheat to the state–they conveniently leave that information out. Surely not within a few months?

(Photo above Frightened Face, ABC.net. I didn’t look that good even when I was twenty.)


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