Outstanding care home fees, threatened with baliffs a week after first letter!

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
My husband passed away on Friday March 7th this year. He was in a care home from January 2013 until his death in hospital. I phoned the home within the hour after the hospital called me with the news of his passing. The next day I went to collect his belongings as the homes policy is that the contract automatically ends 3 days after the residents death and I had to go to the hospital on Monday 10th (the third day).

After I collected his things I heard nothing at all from the home, not a card, phone call or enquiry when the funeral was going to be. Lo and behold on Friday 16th May after 10 weeks I received a letter (dated 14th May) from the credit control department offering his condolences for my loss and asking for £181.45 for outstanding fees. I posted a cheque to them on Thursday 22nd May.

This morning I received another letter from the same man dated 22nd May.

"Despite previous correspondence this account remains overdue and payment is required within the next 7 days. If payment is not made within seven days this account wil be passed to our Dept Recovery Team and Social Services will be informed of the arrears. Either party may then use alternative recovery methods."

Threatened with baliffs less than a week after I received the bill, just what I need.

Any suggestions what I say to this man when I phone him on Monday please as at the moment I am speechless!
I'm sorry to learn of your husband's passing Birdymom and send you my condolences.

I suggest that you don't ring this person at all - it's obvious that his second letter and your cheque have crossed in the post; but if you haven't heard anything further within 7 days I might suggest that you write a terse letter and ask for a receipt that shows the account has been settled in full.

Unfortunately things like this often happen after a death and when you know that there is no charge to answer then it isn't worth distressing yourself over 'a storm in a teacup'. You have more important things to consider, like looking after yourself and grieving for your husband.
This kind of bullying nonsense is sadly, fairly routine.