Hayley Owen Blog

Hayley Owen Blog


Pre-paid funeral plansPosted by Hayley Owen Mon, July 10, 2017 11:03:20

Funeral directors have been in the firing line recently, with claims many people could be let down by pre-paid funeral plans they don't understand, and grieving families targeted by high-pressure sales tactics.

Relatives could actually face extra costs after the death of loved ones who’d paid for their funerals in advance because some fees, including embalming, limousines and burial plots, are not automatically included, according to consumer group Fairer Finance.

The group also accused the industry of a rise in unscrupulous sales practices. Around 1.2m people within the UK have a funeral plan and the sector has seen a five-fold increase within the last ten years.

I’d like to point out a few things.

1. Just as all people are different, so too are funeral directors. Please, don’t tar us all with the same brush. The British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD) points out that “it is a little known - and quite shocking - fact that anyone in the UK can set themselves up as a funeral director without any previous experience, training or qualifications. No licence is necessary.”

The institute is aiming to end this state of affairs - BIFD members have all achieved “an appropriate level of professional training, and our licence to practice is only granted to professionals who follow the Institute's requirements for annual Continuous Professional Development.”

So, it’s vital that people choose a funeral director with qualifications; at a meeting last week we were discussing how many ‘odd job people’ just set up and give us all a bad name. Ask a funeral director what qualifications they have and ask to see their certificates.

2. I am not only a qualified funeral director; I am a qualified embalmer too. I am a member of the BIFD and licenced by them, and also a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors. Plus, I am the chairwoman of the Yorkshire division of the British Institute of Embalmers.

3. I spent a long time and a lot of money training and learning. I know what I’m doing. I want to meet - indeed, surpass - the highest industry expectations. And I want to go above and beyond the call of duty when I’m dealing with a grieving family. It’s not a time (there’s never a time) to be taking advantage of people. Those that do so lack scruples and in my opinion should be avoided like the plague.

4. Many funeral directors don’t show their prices. I do, proving my commitment to a completely open and transparent service. A recent report by the Fair Funerals Campaign said the National Association of Funeral Directors, which represents 80% of the funeral industry, found just 33.5% of its members show their prices online. That’s an increase from a year ago, when only 25% of members had online pricing. Another third (36.5%) of members were planning to put pricing information online by 2019, according to the report.

5. I sell Perfect Choice funeral plans; the firm is one of the top providers. Plans are based on my costs and can be tailored to suit individual needs.

Remember, always ask for and check qualifications and ask for prices upfront!

Any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Until next time,


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