Dignity brings clarity to consumers regarding the Funeral Planning Authority.
Non members are delighted that consumers will now be rather clearer on the real role of the Funeral Planning Authority. It has great intentions, but at the end of the day it is a Trade Association and not an official Regulator.
Safe Hands had a discussions with a Building Society who had misleading statements on their website about (in this case) Dignity. The website said “Dignity is a member of the Funeral Planning Authority, the official body that oversees companies who offer funeral plans” –
Safe Hands are grateful that Dignity have officially requesting all of their resellers amend the reference to “Dignity is a member of the Funeral Planning Authority, the professional body that oversees the operation of registered funeral plan companies,” This has gone some way to making clear the true role of the Funeral Planning Authority and removing the impression that non members are necessarily less well regulated. The name is could be considered a little misleading. But this correction does at least mean that consumers are given the correct information.
Safe Hands say “Our stance on the FPA has always been quite clear. Whilst we appreciate the merits of any self-regulated body designed to protect the consumer, the public opinion that the FPA is in some way a) Official or b) an Authority is deeply concerning as this is simply not the case.”
It is fair to say that Safe Hands are not fans of the FPA! They feel, from what we can gather, that it is a bit of a gentlemans club, asking members to behave decently and not to “cold call.” Its members are also asked to consider the possibility of looking after the funds of any member who goes out of business. Not that that is likely, and client funds should always be ring-fenced anyway. Safe Hands say “This is far from a concrete arrangement in our view and leaves a great deal of ambiguity.”
We believe that any trade association which helps to improve the ethics and standing of its’ members is a good thing, but we do agree that the “Authority” part of the Funeral Planning Authority title is a little misleading to those who just take it at face value as an official body.
(See our Dignity funeral plan review.)