The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Ethical schmethical

Friday, 7 January 2011

Here’s a question sent to money-problem solver Margaret Dibben in the Guardian. It exemplifies the utter crapness of funeral plans and the business methods of the People’s Undertaker.

Two years ago, after the untimely death of a young friend, I took out a bronze cremation plan with The Co-operative Funeralcare. I discussed it on the phone, received papers to sign and started paying £19 a month by direct debit.

I have recently lost work and am trying to cut my outgoings. When I asked The Co-operative how much longer I have to keep paying, I was told until I am 90. This was not explained to me. I am now 57 and in excellent health. If I cancel the policy, the Co-op will keep the £456 I have paid in so far.

Here’s part of the reply:

You have 33 years until you are 90 which means, if you live that long, you have to pay another £7,524 in premiums. The average cost of a funeral today is £2,700. Your only choice is to waste the £456 or keep paying.

Read the entire piece here.

One comment on “Ethical schmethical

  1. Jonathan

    Friday 7th January 2011 at 6:16 pm

    While “this was not explained..” explains a lot, some of what it explains is the inexplicable success of these inexcusable plans – its customers want no more to do with simple arithmetic than they do with death.

    £19 a month for a, say, £2400 funeral takes roughly ten years before you’re paying over the odds. A ten second calculation. Like the odds? Then pay, and don’t complain if you lose out. Co-op may be exploiting your choice to act stupidly, but you’re not stupid and you can choose whether to be exploited or not, it’s a free country (free country my arse, says a young voice inside my head, but it’s not his turn today).

    Like all insurance policies, it’s gambling, and I for one can think of a lot better ways to spend my hard-earned than throwing it away like that – better my irreplaceable life itself squandered drunkenly on passion than eked out in caution.

    Come to think of it, you can put that on my gravestone. It’s not I who’ll be paying, not with money at any rate.

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