Not All Funeral Directors Are Equal blog
Funeral Planning is growing rapidly. The number of people in the UK taking out a funeral plan continues to increase each year with over 135,000 plans taken out in 2013 alone. Since our launch in 2003 we have also seen constant year on year growth.
Planning your funeral in advance is without doubt a sensible idea, particularly taking into consideration the speed with which the costs associated with a funeral are rising. However, there are issues within the industry unfortunately and we’d like to highlight a recent and sadly all too regular event that is negative for the plan holder, the funeral director and the reputation of the industry.
We feel that the following article is of great importance and relevance to both the individual consumer as a prepaid funeral plan holder and the independent funeral director as the business nominated to carry out the funeral at the time of need.
The following information has been provided to us by one of our funeral director clients and is told with the knowledge and permission of their client the plan holder. We won’t be naming names here.
Our funeral director, Mr B received a telephone call late in 2013 from a lady, Mrs E, asking if he could be nominated as their funeral director because her aunt was moving to the area. The plan had already been taken out through Mrs E’s independent financial advisor with company X, a very large funeral planning organisation that provides services to independent funeral directors. The plan had been taken out and paid for only a short time previously.
Mr B informed Mrs E that yes he could be the nominated funeral director but that depending on how much company X actually offered him he might not be able to afford to accept it. Mrs E, obviously shocked asked Mr B what he meant.
Mr B went on to explain that company X has offered him a number of plans recently that were all less than 12 months old, some only weeks old, and in each case had asked if he would accept the plan in question. Upon investigation Mr B found that he was being offered between £600 and £900 less for the plan than the plan holder had paid.
Mrs E was of course shocked to hear this as was her independent financial advisor. Mrs E contacted company X and said nothing of this initially but asked if she could change details and nominate Mr B as the funeral director.
Company X said they would contact Mr B to advise him as the nominated funeral director of the plan and to discuss whether he was willing to take on the responsibility of meeting the plans requirements at the time of need. Duly a call was made and company X offered Mr B the funeral plan for more than £800 LESS than the internet published price (in excess of £3,300.00) that Mrs E had paid for it only a few months before.
When Mrs E heard of this she was understandably appalled at such corporate greed so she decided she would cancel her plan with company X, get a refund as she was entitled to, and take out a new plan through Mr B.
She wasn’t expecting what happened next. Company X which purports to be a passionate supporter of the independent funeral director spent TWO MONTHS giving her the run around. They passed her from department to department, told her she couldn’t cancel, told her there might be issues with commissions they had already paid out and numerous other hurdles to try and stop her cancelling.
In the end her persistence paid off and they did allow her to cancel her plan and gave her the refund she was entitled to. But how many have given up? How many don’t even know what’s happening?
How many funeral directors are being pushed into accepting under value plans for fear of losing future business? Business that may cost them and ultimately the consumer?
We might not be the biggest in the market but we pride ourselves on our moral and ethical standards.
Our message? Choose your funeral plan provider wisely, the wrong choice could ultimately damage local independent funeral directors all over the country.
Open Prepaid Funerals has been successfully providing funeral plans since 2003. We have never had a complaint about the service we provide and are proud of that. We charge only a fixed administration fee and DO NOT take any further plan administration fees from the Open Trust Fund.
Our commitment is to provide a funeral planning service that has the best interests of the plan holder and the funeral director equally first and foremost. Performance BEFORE profit.
We might be smaller, but our performance certainly packs a punch.
Open For Business Since 2003.
- Posted 18th February 2014