PayPal wrote to a woman who had died of cancer saying her death had breached its rules and that it might take legal action as a consequence. The firm has since acknowledged that the letter was "insensitive", apologised to her widower, and begun an inquiry into how it came to be sent.
The matter came to light after her bereaved husband contacted the BBC. He said he wanted to make other organisations aware how distressing automated messages could be.
Lindsay Durdle died on 31 May aged 37. She had been first diagnosed with breast cancer about a year-and-a-half earlier. The disease had later spread to her lungs and brain.
PayPal was informed of Mrs Durdle's death three weeks ago by her husband Howard Durdle. He provided the online payments service with copies of her death certificate, her will and his ID, as requested.
He has now received a letter addressed in her name, sent to his home in Bucklebury, West Berkshire. It was headlined: "Important: You should read this notice carefully."