British Columbia

'I'm at my wits' end': Widow tries for months to get money from dead husband's PayPal account

After 73-year-old Wendy Pelech’s husband died nine months ago, she began to cancel all his online accounts, including PayPal, assuming the online payment system would send her the balance.

The account has nearly $800 in it

Wendy Pelech stands with her husband Bill, who died in January. (Submitted by Wendy Pelech)

Update: On Tuesday, Pelech informed CBC News the money had finally been returned.

A senior from Sparwood, B.C., says PayPal, a money transfer company, won't release her deceased husband's account despite months of promises. 

When 73-year-old Wendy Pelech's husband died nine months ago, she began to cancel all his online accounts, including PayPal, assuming the online payment system would send her the balance.

Her husband's PayPal wallet had nearly $800 in it.

When the money never came through, she said she contacted the company, hoping it would be a simple process to complete the transfer. Instead, she entered into a never-ending cycle of paperwork.

"They've just been giving me the runaround," said Pelech.

First, PayPal requested a copy of the death certificate, a cover sheet from the executor — which is Wendy Pelech, a copy of the will and a government-issued I.D. 

Pelech obliged.

"I sent them all of that," she said.

When she didn't hear anything, she called them back and was told they never received the documents and she would need to fax them over, which she did.

The next day brought the news that she had faxed the documents to the wrong number, so she faxed it all again to the second number they gave her.

Two weeks later, PayPal asked Pelech to send a copy of her passport, as well as to resend copies of her driver's licence and the death certificate.

Pelech said she has been in contact with PayPal numerous times since her husband died, and she still hasn't received the nearly $800 that's in his account. (Jeff Chiu/The Associated Press)

She says she was told her faxes were coming through too dark or too light.

Fed up with the entire ordeal, Pelech called the company to speak with a supervisor.

"Oh, this will get settled tomorrow," she remembers being told by the supervisor. "Don't worry about it. You will get your money."

 She didn't get the money. Instead, she was told they couldn't cut her a cheque or deposit the funds into her account because she had already closed her late husband's account.

"I'm at my wits' end," Pelech told the CBC last week.

On Aug. 10,  PayPal  asked Pelech to send a bank statement to verify her account, adding the funds could then be transferred to her. 

Again, the money never came through.

"I don't know where to turn. I'm not a widow that's rolling in money," she said.

Response from PayPal

In an email to CBC, PayPal confirmed that their customer service team has been in touch with Ms. Pelech to get the documentation they need to close the account.

"We take these matters seriously and have worked with her to explain the documentation required in order to process these requests. We always work to expedite these requests, but delays may occur as we work to obtain appropriate paperwork.

We have processed her request, but due to company policy, we are unable to provide additional information," said Sandie Benitah, manager of communication for PayPal Canada.

Last Friday, nine months after her husband's death, Pelech received an email from PayPal apologizing. It also said that the money has been transferred to her bank account. 


  • An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect spelling of Wendy and Bill Pelech's last name.
    Oct 12, 2019 1:09 PM PT

With files from Bob Keating