What price peace of mind?

Charles Cowling

100PeaceOfMind

It’s been another very bad day at the office for the financial product known as the funeral plan, demonstrating its attractiveness to cheats and scammers. Sooner or later some devious little twerp is going to do a runner with a shedful. Some reckon they know who that twerp is. 

Yorkshire Asset Protection, a financial services firm offering ‘specialist advice’ and ‘bespoke solutions’ for people’s estate planning needs, has folded, leaving widow Lynda Madden £6,500 out of pocket. What she and her husband were told were Golden Charter funeral plans turned out to be nothing of the sort. 

Read the whole sad story here

Meanwhile, allegations concerning the growing power of Golden Charter (the real Golden Charter) as funerals’ broker is something we’re increasingly aware of here at the GFG. Funeral directors write in to sound off. A typical account arrived a couple of days ago.  A funeral director who is not signed up exclusively to Golden Charter tells us he was offered £1958 to arrange a funeral which, had he been exclusively signed up, would have yielded him £2686. He says the family had paid over £3000 for the plan, which included provision for a willow coffin. 

Why shouldn’t a £3K plan buy you a £3K funeral? I put this case to Golden Charter and was told that the company rewards those who support it and help it grow the business — why should FDs who don’t commit to it benefit from the hard work and commitment of others? 

I also took the opportunity to ask Golden Charter about its telesales operation in the light of  reported case where a vulnerable old person was distressed by what she felt were pressure sales tactics. I was told that any report of anything other than ethical conduct by a telesales operative would be dealt with swiftly and surgically. 

Golden Charter has invited me, in a spirit of openness, to go and see them at their HQ in Glasgow to lay before them all the concerns that consumers might have about its funeral plans, and I am minded to accept the invitation. If there’s anything you would like me to ask them, please let me know. Drop me an email or leave a comment. 

 

 

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Richard Fearnley
Richard Fearnley
7 years ago

Interesting to note that Golden Charter are only prepared to reward those who support it and help it grow their business. I offered Golden Charter Plans for many years. When these plans started to mature with very poor returns, often leaving me with a shortfall of up to £1000.00 per funeral, I became very concerned. Due to these concerns, I decided that it was very much in my interests and the clients interests that I stopped offering these plans. After all the hard work and commitment Golden Charter have spoken about, I find myself being offered an even lower maturity… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
7 years ago

It means you have to scroll from the bottom of the page, up to the top of the next comment up, then scroll down again to read it, then find the comment above the comment you’ve just read and go to the top of it, scroll down, up and down like a yo-yo… all the time keeping a mental note of the date and time of each comment if you want to read them in chronological order. Before, you started from the top and scrolled down, like a normal person would, taking in your stride answers (out of synch) to… Read more »

Andrew Hickson (Kingfisher Funerals)

Is it just me, or is it suddenly very difficult to work out what comments come in what order on this blog?

Mr XX
Mr XX
7 years ago

We should all be flattered that certain FD’s employ lawyers to read this blog and monitor our websites.

We should also be cautious. They do have deep pockets.

G M Taylor
7 years ago

Question, Does anything now give 100% peace of mind in this profession……..I am impressed with Andrews remarks/comments, how transparent is this man, I was once told, I was 1 of many salesman, whilst working for a large Funeral provider, my reply in front of 12 other FDs soon got my cards well and truly marked. I have never had or intended to work in sales, and be told we make more profit on a upgraded coffin than we do on a standard one was the final nail, I even questioned how ethical it was to sell a coffin at nearly… Read more »

Jennifer Uzzell
7 years ago

I agree entirely. That is pretty much what we do!

Jenny Uzzell
7 years ago

I agree with Kingfisher entirely on this one. We have had some similar experiences, Funeral Plans can, if responsibly sold, be a good thing for some people. Not for everyone, but for some. Funeral directors are really the only people in a position to do this well and responsibly. The third party costs are really not such an issue. We speak personally to everyone we sell a plan to and make sure they know exactly what the situation is with regard to those. They get an itemized bill, just as for a funeral and a letter explaining the situation so… Read more »

Andrew Hickson (Kingfisher Funerals)

Third party costs / disbursements / call them whatever you want, they’re still the same thing … As I said in a post a week or so ago here https://www.goodfuneralguide.co.uk/2013/08/funeral-plans-and-the-peace-of-mind-delusion/#comments we put the client before ourselves and guarantee the entire cost of the funeral. To some this may seem like commercial suicide – we may end up paying for a few clients’ funerals – but I think it is much more likely that all that will happen is that we make a smaller profit on the funeral plans that are not required for a long time. So be it. The… Read more »

Mr XX
Mr XX
7 years ago

The dilemma faced by all small funeral directors. We feel we must compete with the big firms for plan sales – because we know this is the future of our business. However, we also know that the plan seller will shaft us – paying us only a percentage of what the client (our client?) paid for his or her plan. The whole can of worms needs proper investigation and dare I say it – the oxygen of negative publicity could help too. Perhaps Which or a national newspaper? As ever with our industry, ignorance greatly assists those who seek to… Read more »

Andrew Hickson (Kingfisher Funerals)

It’s only fair to declare that I used to work for Golden Charter. I was appointed as a Regional Support Manager (RSM) – but the ‘S’ soon very obviously meant Sales. I left, not being a salesperson by any stretch of the imagination, and in particular being unmotivated by any sort of targets where funerals are concerned. I didn’t hear from Golden Charter for a couple of years after I set up in business, but in March this year I was contacted by one of their ‘Allocations Team’ who told me that a client of theirs had nominated me as… Read more »