Dead woman billed for satellite TV

Maria Eriksson’s sister died in April of a sudden heart illness, but satellite broadcaster Viasat was not going to let that excuse prevent it from claiming money owed.

Eriksson was in charge of taking care of loose ends such as cancelling contracts, paying rent, and doing other administrative duties. Everything was going smoothly — book clubs were canceled, telephone contracts, and even a contract with a lingerie company.

“Many places said they were sorry when I called and explained what had happened and that they would naturally recall the last bill,” said Eriksson, according to Gefle Dagblad. But Viasat, where her sister had a 24-month “gold contract” since 2005, resisted.

Viasat said it still wanted the outstanding money due on her contract —4,120 kronor. Eriksson sent a letter to Viasat asking it to cancel the contract, but did not hear anything.

Björn Smith, a legal expert with The Swedish Consumer Agency, agrees with Eriksson. He said contracts end with death in this type of situation, something Viasat seemed to disagree with.

“According to my information, we have the right to bill the dead person’s estate until the contract expires,” said Markus Davidsson, a customer service worker at Viasat.

On Thursday, the broadcaster said it was going to cancel the contract and that the problem had been a big mix-up.

“Of course the contract ends when a person dies,” said Ulrik Bengtsson, Viasat’s chief to news agency TT. “This happens 99 percent of the time and it just went a bit wrong in this case.”