Using a Funeral Director
Codes of Practice
Each organisation operates its own code of practice, although none of the codes are currently supported by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Each code of practice requires its members to:
* provide information on charging, including displaying a price list on the premises and providing an individual copy
* provide a written estimate of the cost of the funeral
* offer a basis or simple funeral
The Funeral Ombudsman states in the Funeral Profession Code of Practice that a 'simple, basic funeral' should comprise of;
* Making all necessary funeral arrangements and providing professional advice.
* Removal of the deceased to a suitable resting place.
* Provision of a simple, veneered coffin and conveyance by hearse direct to a local cemetery or crematorium.
* Providing the funeral director and all necessary staff.
* All necessary disbursements.
What to do if you are Unhappy with The Funeral
Despite reports of an increase in complaints against undertakers, the office of the Funeral Ombudsman (which offered members of the public unhappy with the service they had received an independent complaints procedure), ceased operation on 30 September 2002.
In its place, it appears that all three main funeral associations have established independent schemes for re-dress which aim to settle disputes by mediation.
The most frequent complaints relate to the cost of the funeral exceeding the estimates, misunderstandings about the disposal of ashes and distress caused by the condition of the body when viewed by relatives after embalming or a post-mortem.
Helpful Books and Organisations
The Dead Good Funerals Book
Welfare State International
The Ellers Ulverston,
Tel: 01229 581127
The New Natural Death Handbook Available from;
The Natural Death Centre
20 Heber Road
Tel: 020 8208 2853
Association of Burial Authorities
155 Upper Ground
Tel: 020 8288 2522
Fax: 020 8288 2533
Cremation Society of Great Britain
2nd FloorBrecon House
16/16a Albion Place
Tel: 01622 688292
Will tell you your nearest crematorium and publishes a free booklet on 'What You Should Know About Cremation'.