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UPS Loses Man’s $846,000 Inheritance, Graciously Agrees to Refund $32 Shipping Fee

A lot of my mail gets misdelivered. There are a lot of reasons for this, from my house being somewhat hard to find to employees of the postal service and other couriers not really caring all that much. Usually, when that happens, it’s not too much trouble to get the item replaced. I just call Amazon or whoever and a replacement is on the way.

Well, it turns out that when what gets lost in transit is nearly a million dollars, it’s a bit harder to get replaced than a Rick and Morty Blu Ray. The CBC reports that a Canadian family, distributing their father’s estate, had a bank draft for $846,000 go missing, in this case lost in transit by UPS. And UPS paid them the full $32 they spent on shipping.

Wait, what? Yeah, that’s right. “Sorry we lost almost a million dollars, here’s a stamp.” Outrageous, right? But really, UPS isn’t the villain here. Sure, they lost the package, but the whole point of a bank draft is that it should be easy to replace if it gets lost, right? After all, if a personal check gets lost in the mail, you send another one, you don’t expect the post office to reimburse you the face value of the check. A bank draft is basically a check written between one bank and another.

The real villain of the piece here is TD Canada Trust, who refused to replace the bank draft, despite their assurances that some simple paperwork was all it would take to replace it if it was lost. The paperwork was not simple.

The bank demanded that Lorette Taylor, the executor of the the family’s will, agree to be financially liable should the original bank draft be cashed. And after she agreed to that, the bank still didn’t issue a second draft for the money, instead demanding that the bank be allowed to place a lien on her home first.

TD Canada Trust declined to answer specific questions from CBC News. But in an email spokeswoman Cheryl Ficker wrote: “Bank drafts do not expire, and once the draft is issued, the funds are guaranteed for payment. They should be treated as though they are cash.”

If I write a check, I can put a stop-payment on it and the person I sent it to has to have like, eight forms of ID and give a blood sample to cash it, but for some reasons banks have no way to cancel their most secure form of money transfer? They can’t stop payment on that shit? They’re not bearer bonds.

In the ten months since the draft was issued, the money has been resting in a TD Canada Trust account, where Taylor’s brother, Louis Paul Herbert, has been unable to claim it.

But there’s a bright side, because sometimes people, or even corporations, can be shamed into doing the right thing. After the CBC’s original story, TD Canada Trust agreed to issue a replacement bank draft in exchange for an indemnity agreement that will last until 2019, but will no longer require Taylor accept a lien on her house. So see, sometimes there are happy endings, provided a national news organization pressures someone into doing the right thing.

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