Normally, we don’t hear any complaints about funeral plans as they do their job smoothly.
However, there are two areas currently causing concern and keeping us busy trying to help, even though we have no direct involvement. PLEASE don’t call us when you have problems, but we are always interested to know if you would be kind enough to email us using the form below. So, the two major problems are:
Funeral Plan Complaints: plans sold by phone.
We do not agree with plans being sold by phone in the first place. But we are getting lots of calls about companies being slow to repay amounts paid ranging from £50 to £3,000 where the client cancels within the required period which typically ranges from 14 to 30 days. Perhaps they actually read the Terms and Conditions when they finally arrive and discover the plan is not all the salesperson said it was, or maybe they just realised it was not a decision which should be made in haste.
Anyway, our advice is to phone the company immediately if you want to cancel in the initial period when you can get your money back, and take the name of the person you speak to. Then follow it immediately with a letter, mentioning the name of the person you spoke too. Keeping a copy of the letter, and ideally, send it recorded delivery. Be aware that the procedure for retrieving cash from Trust Funds or Insurance Funds is not immediate, so as long as your refund request is acknowledged in writing or by email from the actual provider, you may need to be a little patient. It could take as long as 5 weeks or so.
2. Complaints about Funeral Plans affected by Coronavirus.
These are a different kettle of fish: many funerals have been affected, and it has been impossible to deliver the full funeral the deceased had paid for. Not all funeral plan companies are Regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority, so they can’t help with unregulated ones. See the providers review which should indicate if they are. We approached the Funeral Planning Authority for a statement, and this is what they said:
“What happens when some element of the plan cannot be delivered? The Funeral Planning Authority has not issued any specific guidance largely because trying to make rules to address the number of different potential situations was likely to lead to more unintended consequences. However, if there is an element of a plan that cannot be delivered we would expect FPA registered providers to treat their customers fairly and provide an alternative service or an appropriate refund for the element of service not delivered. For any customer or family with issues, who have plans with FPA registered providers, our advice is to have the conversation with the provider in the first instance. If that doesn’t address their concerns then to raise a formal complaint with the provider and if that is not resolved then complain to us. There is a form on our website that can be completed ( https://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/contact-us/complaint-form/ ) or email us at info@
Clearly, not all firms are FPA Regulated, but their recommendations are perfectly reasonable. Where the firm is unregulated, you might wish to approach the local Trading Standards Office but you should first have complained about the fact that the funeral plan was not fully fulfilled and no sensible alternative offered, by telephone and in writing to the provider. Some funeral directors will actually have dealt with the matter already, by allowing extra flowers, printing or an upgraded urn etc.
We cannot resolve complaints about funeral plans, but we are interested in your experiences, so please let us know about them.