Here’s the hot news:
“… we can today formally announce that we have initiated legal proceedings against the UK’s largest provider of pre-paid funeral plans, Golden Charter, seeking substantial damages for their actions against Safe Hands Funeral Plans.”
Yes, the Yorkshire terriers have gone for the throat of wee Big Dawgie, and they ain’t stopping there:
“Further claims against other companies are imminent and will be announced at a later date.”
Blimey, what’s this all about?
It seems that Safe Hands “recorded video and audio footage (presented, in January 2015, to the perpetrators via our solicitors) that shows representatives of most of the major plan providers launching vicious, unprovoked, verbal attacks – primarily against Safe Hands, but on each other as well…all in a desperate and shamefully unprofessional effort to get an edge over the competition.” Looks like a sting.
While the lawyers order trebles all round and get ready to enwrap both parties in litigation for as long as legally possible, the good citizens of Funeralworld tremble. A lot of heavily soiled linen looks like being washed in public. God forbid that the public learn just how much of the money they spend on a funeral plan gets divvied up among sundry predators in the form of commissions, sales and marketing costs, directors’ wages, you name it.
Golden Charter describes itself as “owned by and run entirely for the benefit of independent funeral directors”, a claim a great many independent funeral directors now reject. On its website, GC confesses “We work on behalf of more than 3,300 independent funeral directors throughout the UK.” Why on earth would anyone want to buy a funeral plan that works in the service of the very people who stand to make money out of them? Beats us.
But GC has achieved a market share great enough to enable it effectively to act as funeral broker, and that’s seriously worrying. So: praise the Lord if the hullabaloo has the effect of concentrating minds and curing funeral directors of their dependency on this lousy financial product.
So far as we are concerned at the GFG, the present squabbles are between businesses with a failed business model.
Going forward, we recommend that funeral directors subject a funeral plan to the Lynch Test before endorsing it. The Lynch Test? Yes, the Lynch Test. It goes like this:
Does this plan facilitate face-to-face accountability between the buyer of the funeral– the personal representative of the person who has died — and the seller — the funeral director?
The only good funeral plan is one that restores the lost link between buyer and seller.
Again: The only good funeral plan is one that restores the lost link between buyer and seller.
Can this be achieved? Yes, it can. Shortly, we’ll show you how.
UPDATE 12-02-2015: I wrote to David Latham at NFFD HQ asking how Safe Hands had funded its prime-time ad slot on ITV on 09-02-2015. He replied as follows:
“The advertising campaign is limited to the Yorkshire area only and was a special introductory package for a new advertiser. Consequently, the amount spent was minimal. More importantly, the cost was met by the NFFD, so I can state, categorically, that it most certainly WILL NOT affect the long term investments of Safe Hands’ plan holders. Whereas some other providers use their clients investments to advertise their services, you may be interested (and comforted) to know that Safe Hands most certainly does not.”