What complaining through the Funeral Arbitration Scheme feels like

Charles 13 Comments



From: Beverley Webb
Sent: 15 August 2012 23:03
To: Weymouth Abbotsbury Rd (TCF)
Subject: Gloria Roper
Importance: High

Dear Ms Allen

We are writing to request you send us a copy of the estimate of costs of our late mother’s funeral and copies of the agreement we signed in your office in Weymouth on December 8th 2011, you can email these to the address’s provided below




Michelle Blakesley

Beverley Webb


From: funeral.clientrelations@letsco-operate.com
To: michellelesleyblakesley@...; weebie71@...
CC: info@nafd.org.uk
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2012 16:56:38 +0100
Subject: FW: Gloria Roper

Dear Mrs Blakesley

Thank you for your enquiry.

I have received a copy of your completed Conciliation Service Application Form from the Funeral Arbitration Scheme and have therefore re-opened your complaint. I will be reviewing our records and the previously agreed resolution to your concerns and have therefore requested all copies of documentation from our Weymouth Funeral Home. Once I am in receipt of the relevant documentation I will of course submit two copies together with the Funeral Directors Dispute Detail form that was attached to your application form, the Funeral Arbitration Scheme will provide you with a copy in due course.

May I respectfully request that any further correspondence in relation to your complaint is directed to the Funeral Arbitration Scheme at info@nafd.org.uk in the first instance or alternatively to funeral.clientrelations@letsco-operate.com for my attention.

Kind regards

Jon Potts

Client Relations Manager

Co-operative Funeralcare


From: Beverley Webb [mailto:weebie71@...]
Sent: 22 August 2012 10:04
To: Funeral Client Relations; info@nafd.org.ukmichellelesleyblakesley@...
Subject: RE: Gloria Roper – Att Jon Potts

Dear Mr Potts

Please can you explain why you have chosen not to disclosure paperwork we have requested directly from you and that we did not receive at the time of signing on December 8th 2011 at your Weymouth Co-operative Branch in Dorset with the manager Hellen Allen present  following the sudden death of our mother.

Please can you further explain was it is necessary for the Funeral Arbitration Scheme to provide us with this in due course, We will look forward to a prompt reply


Michelle Blakesley & Beverley Webb


From: funeral.clientrelations@letsco-operate.com
To: weebie71@...
CC: info@nafd.org.ukDavid.Collingwood@co-operative.coop
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 15:18:08 +0100
Subject: RE: Gloria Roper – Att Jon Potts

Dear Mrs Webb

Thank you for your email.

As I explained in my previous email, now that the matter has been passed to the Funeral Arbitration Scheme (FAS), I have requested all documentation from the funeral home. Once I have received this I will be in a position to complete the Funeral Directors Dispute Detail form that was attached to your application form and submit it together with duplicate copies of all our correspondence and documentation. This is usual practice.

I will ask FAS to forward a duplicate copy of the correspondence. This ensures that you have an exact duplicate of all documentation submitted to FAS by Funeralcare and that there are no discrepancies in the copy that you receive.

Kind regards

Jon Potts

Client Relations Manager

Co-operative Funeralcare


Editor’s note: personal email addresses have been obscured so that Beverley and Michelle do not receive ‘unsolicited’ correspondence. We will bring you updates as and when. 













  1. Charles

    Great post, thank you Beverley and Michelle for sharing this, and Charles too for the headline which really gets to the root. Even reading this one feels drained, tired and irritated. I have lots of respect for anyone who actually manages to see this process through.

    Hopefully http://funeraladvisor.org.uk/ will offer a more quick, direct and empowering option for those who have something to say about funeral directors.

    1. Charles

      We did not chose this path, While we have breath – we have strength and when the Co-op are finally found guilty of soliciting which was what they did, then maybe our grieving will start, it was a shocking sequences of events, demands, sell sell sell, we understand that this is not representative of all co-op employees, as many are in the job because they care – however this has not been our experience and trying to get some redress from managers higher up, has left a foul taste in our mouths!, One really wonders why the Head Office is worrying about decrepincies between the local office? – thoughts?

  2. Charles

    Having seen Mr Potts handy work in some detail previously, when advising a dear couple of honest stand up citizens from the Dewsbury area who had been on the receiving end of the FC`s complaints procedures, my heart sinks for this particular client. That said, credit where credit is due, there is no better man for the job than Mr Potts, when it comes to the `call my bluff diplomacy` approach to handling client complaints. My head bows in deep respect to his thick skinned determination to seek the submission of anyone brave enough to lock horns with him over the issue of compensation or admission of fault or failings. For in this particular field of combat, he truly has no equal.

    1. Charles

      Mr Potts does not frighten me or Michelle, sadly we are taking on an organisation that has lawyers on hand and posts million pound profits – however truth is only what we know and we are NOT going anywhere soon

  3. Charles

    Dear Beverley and Michelle

    you are both clearly still unhappy with the service(s) offered by Funeralcare Weymouth (and which have, of course, featured in this blog before)

    Charles has also published details/the letter from the relevant department at Dorset CC re funeralcare’s work as the Agent for the Coroner

    The issue of funeralcare ‘soliciting work’ has been mentioned, which is a separate issue than their work for the Coroner. This seems to me to be very clear cut. If you contacted them with the intention of them handling all of the arrangements, then the ‘soliciting issue’ does not arise, however if and only if, were they to have contacted you with a view to handling the arrangements, then they almost certainly have ‘solicited’ for the ‘subsequent work’ and would then very clearly be in breach of the terms of the Coroner’s contract. You will know which of these was the case



    1. Charles

      thanks Beverley

      well, if you have not, then clearly you should write again to Mr Cheesman (or the Chief Executive) at Dorset CC stressing that in your opinion Cooperative funeralcare have seriously breached the terms of their retainer and that you expect to receive confirmation that they are no longer instructed as Coroner’s Agents for the Weymouth area. Your decision of course



  4. Charles

    Hi Andrew
    On recieving the letter from Dorset DCC, I spoke to Steve Cheesman for some considerable time, and he simply stated they denied it (Co-op) and that they really could not (DCC) simply remove a contract from one complaint.
    So I asked how many do I have to gather?, he said if he recieved just one more he would re-investiagte.
    He suggested I contact the NAFD, we will continue and the truth will out, am just holding off on what we can publicly say at this time – but thanks for your advice
    Bev & Michelle

    1. Charles

      thanks for your response

      of course Co-op F’care denied it, there is or appears to be a policy of doing so, particularly since they constantly believe that they are immune to all and everything allied to this sort of thing and also to their business per se

      I follow ‘death trends’ in certain areas and which firms are instruced to carry out the subsequent arrangements. My recollection in the Weymouth area was that Funeralcare were not a very large player and that traditionally, independent firms such as Cotton, Stockting and Rose were usually instructed. Leading up to your involvement in the article in ‘The Dorset Echo’ I had noticed for some months before that, a significant increase in arrangements being carried out by Funeralcare Weymouth. I also believe in the policy of ‘the more funerals that are seen to be carried out by one organisation’ ultimately means that there are more instructions received. That would be apparent to anyone who would regularly study the announcements appearing in a particular newspaper

      Coop Funeralcare almost certainly do not enjoy competition from independent providers and would presumably relish the opportunity for the independent share of the market to be radically reduced

      I feel that in the interests of people in the Weymouth area in future (and if you wish to take this forward), then you need to compare how many instructions that they received (as per ‘Dorset Echo’s announcements section) when compared to the number of cases that were reported to the Coroner. David Holmes who regularly blogs on here has also commented regarding Coroner’s work

      There is much that I could add but for legal reasons, I cannot – if you wish to contact me direct, then it’s probably best to send an email to Charles, who has my mail address



  5. Charles

    we experienced dreadful service from southern co-operative care.. the funeral would be described as a scene from a carry on film…disgusting funeral care……..

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