Co-op ruined my father’s funeral
My father sadly passed away more than two months ago. We had awful, upsetting problems with Co-op Funeralcare. It made numerous, inexplicable mistakes, didn’t return phone calls and what we said was not passed on to another staff member. A funeral director is there to help the bereaved, not add to the distress at a time of acute grief. The issues from the start were such that we wished to cancel the whole funeral with them. However, once the dates are booked and friends and family invited, that’s not feasible.
The funeral manager said, after speaking with senior management, it has agreed to donate £500 in memory of my father and give a refund of £500. The funeral director said that Co-op Funeralcare finds this to be fair and reasonable and the offer is final. Yet this does not reflect the insensitivity we experienced, all the errors and the staffing issues. DG, MANCHESTER
Various mistakes were made, including those involving where your father had been moved to after he died. The standard of care he had and his preparation were very below standard.
At one stage you were told things had not been done because you had not returned the contract and paid the deposit. This was after hours on a Friday and you had not been told about this requirement. As you live just two minutes away, had you known, you would have come over and paid at once.
On the Monday, when you tried to pay, no one knew about this and there was no access to a payment machine. Someone was supposed to call you to take the card payment and did not. Meanwhile payment was prioritised over personal matters and preparations on your late father’s body were delayed.
When eventually you did see him, the condition of the room was poor. Far from giving an impression of “a chapel of rest” your mother described it as a “broom cupboard”. There was dirt and dust on the floor. There were thumb prints on his coffin plaque on which the typeface did not appeal. A replacement was agreed but it was done with the same font as before.
You both found the way all this was being dealt with highly distressing.
You then arranged to have the internment done by another party.
I approached Co-op Funeralcare and it now said that what happened is in no way reflective of its high standards of care. It says any necessary improvements will be made.
Co-op Funeralcare’s services cost £2,760 and it is now waiving the full amount. The £500 charity donation still stands.
The remaining £1,361 for fees charged by third parties, such as for the crematorium, doctor’s fee, church and organist, are being paid by you.
I stressed to Co-op Funeralcare that someone high up needed to visit the Chapel of Rest you were unhappy with and this has happened. The staff there also probably need extra training.
Three weeks later you still hadn’t had the £500 despite assurances. I prompted Co-op Funeralcare and a few hours later someone came to your house with a cheque. As you say, Co-op Funeralcare does not seem to have learnt any lessons from this.