Posted by Charles
Funeral shoppers are nervous shoppers. They are in unknown territory, they’ve got nothing to go by. Of all shoppers, funeral shoppers are the most likely, if they catch a glint or a whiff of anything negative about a funeral director, to rear up, eyes rolling, and gallop away as fast as they can.
That is the power of Qype and all those other review websites. We know we can’t trust everything we read on Amazon and Tripadvisor, but we can bring some experience to bear and come to a considered judgement. Funeral shoppers don’t have that sort of savvy to guide them.
Here at the GFG we list funeral directors we like (not nearly enough; it’s a work in progress) and we post reviews from consumers. We have enough nous to sort them at source. Almost all negative reviews come from, surprise surprise, rival funeral directors. These reviews are easy to spot and delete because they usually employ undertakerly jargon. “The causal way he paiged the hearse was a discrace” is a dead giveaway. But some feedback, though sincerely meant, may be wide of the mark. A recent poor review of a GFG funeral director was sent in by an ex-wife whose children had arranged the funeral with an ‘alternative’ funeral director. The children had no complaint, but the complainant hadn’t liked the non-traditional style of the funeral. The funeral director was blameless and the complaint was a matter between herself and her children. I didn’t post it.
But Qype might have — almost certainly would have. It would have been enough to frighten a lot of horses.
In the case of malicious complaints, the potential for damage is enormous. Did you read about the recent experience of Damian Melville of Melville and Daughters, Tottenham?
The owner of a Tottenham funeral firm claims his business has fallen victim to a cyber bully leaving “fake” feedback on a review website.
Damian Melville, 33, opened Melville and Daughters funeral directors in West Green Road two years ago to ensure future job security for his children, aged five and 12.
Mr Melville, who lives in Enfield Chase, first started noticing the less than favourable reviews on the popular business review website, Qype, in December, but is now seeking criminal action against the internet user.
The claims, which show up as the first result on search engine Google, include information about how the supposed customer was “hounded” by the firm four days after the funeral to pay for overdue payments.
The Qype user also complained about the late arrival of the horse-drawn hearse and the use of an ill-fitting wig on the body of a deceased person. [Source]
Mr Melville has had to resort to expensive litigation to get the reviews removed — but not after they’d done incalculable reputational damage.
It is unlikely that Mr Melville is the first to have suffered in this way. He certainly won’t be the last. For both funeral shoppers and funeral directors these online review sites are a serious matter.