Okay then, what’s so what’s our line on the latest media coverage of Funeralworld sparked by the ‘consumer advocacy organisation’ Which? deploring mendacious, predatory funeral directors?
All the age-old charges are levelled against funeral directors: opaque pricing, upselling, and talking people into services they don’t need like embalming. Out of 20 funeral directors mystery shopped by Which? the advice offered by 14 was rated poor or very poor.
This is what we think.
First, consumers have a duty to prepare, in advance of any commercial transaction they enter into, by informing themselves and shopping around. Funerals are no different. Perhaps they should be, but just now this is the way we do things, so tough. Buying a funeral is no different from buying a fridge. Or, perhaps more appropriately, a second-hand car. The first rule of capitalism is never give a sucker an even break.
Second, Which? has a very poor claim to be a consumer advocate in the area of funerals. Why? Because the Which? guide What To Do When Someone Dies is written by an funeral industry insider. That insider is Anne Wadey. Anne Wadey heads up the Bereavement Advice Centre, which is financed by the Independent Trust Corporation (ITC), a probate specialist, and sponsored by the NAFD. ITC’s reputation is deplorable. Have a look at the Review Centre website here. The latest review (12.12.2011) begins: “ITC Legal Services _ Never consider using them!” Please anyone out there contemplating using this firm for probate work, don’t don’t don’t! They are complete charlattans who lull you into a false sense of security that they will support you during a time of need and are actually only after fleecing the estate of your loved one. They have upset me so badly, I feel unable to even telephone them and consider taking them to court for misrepresentation is the only way forward.
We first looked at ITC in June 2010. If you’d like more detail, click here.
Third, this so-called survey by Which? is irresponsibly sensation seeking. Sure, they “applaud the examples of empathy and good practice we did see” — but there’s no reference to this in the Daily Mail report.
The effect is to tar all funeral directors with the same brush. This is terribly unfair.
Here at the GFG we are no strangers, obviously, to vile service from lying, cheating bastards trading as funeral directors.
We are also aware that some of the nicest, kindest, most principled people you could ever hope to meet also trade as funeral directors.
If Which? wanted to do consumers a service, this is what they would have said. They would have said that the good news is that anyone, anywhere, can find an ethical, golden-hearted funeral director who’ll look after them wonderfully well.
But they didn’t. They chose to stir the shit to get themselves a bit of cheap publicity.
And our completely crap media fell for it.
Daily Mail story here
Daily Telegraph story here