Pre-paid funeral plans are products that allow consumers to pre-arrange and pre-pay for their funeral, generally for a fixed cost. Consumers can buy a plan for themselves, or someone else, for example, a family member or partner. We can consider complaints about businesses that provide or arrange pre-paid funeral plans whether sold directly by a funeral plan provider or by a third party, for example a funeral director.
From 29 July 2022, businesses that provide and arrange funeral plans must be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to sell and administer plans.
Customers who have a complaint about a product or think they’ve been treated unfairly by a business can now make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service about pre-paid funeral plans, in relation to events that take place after 29 July 2022. Customers can also complain to us about events that took place before that date, as long as:
- The provider was a member of the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) at the time of the event they are complaining about, and
- The customer has not previously made the same complaint to the FPA.
Types of complaint we can help with
We can look at most types of complaints about the sale, administration, redemption and delivery of a funeral plan, from 29 July 2022. For example, someone might get in touch because:
- they believe their plan was mis-sold as certain key terms weren’t clear during the sale, or some things aren’t covered under the plan
- they’re unhappy with how the provider calculated the price of the plan, or the price they pay for the plan is too much
- they had administrative or service issues in relation to the plan, for example, how their provider dealt with cancellations or refunds
- they’re unhappy they had to make additional payments to cover services that are not part of their current plan
Complaints we can’t help with
We may not be able to help if the complaint is about the conduct of a funeral director. It will depend on whether the funeral director was acting on behalf of the plan provider at the time. But the customer may be able to raise a complaint with:
Handling a complaint like this
The first thing you need to do is look into the complaint you've received. You should work with your customer to get to the bottom of what happened, investigate fairly whether anything went wrong, and – where appropriate – take steps to put things right. You should reply to your customer within 8 weeks.
If you don’t reply within the time limits for responding to a complaint, or the customer disagrees with your response, they can bring their complaint to us. We’ll check it’s something we can deal with, and if it is, we’ll investigate. We’ll expect you to be able to show us that you’ve investigated the complaint thoroughly and that you have reflected carefully on the circumstances.
Read more about resolving complaints.
What we look at
As with every case, in reaching a decision about what’s fair and reasonable, we consider:
- the relevant law and regulations
- any regulator’s rules and guidance that applied at the time
- any industry codes of conduct in force at the time
- what we consider was good industry practice at the time
If there are disagreements about the facts, we’ll make our decision about what probably happened using evidence provided by you, your customer and relevant third parties.
Find out more about our process and how we handle complaints.
Putting things right
If we find you've treated your customer unfairly, or have made a mistake, we'll ask you to put things right. Our general approach is that your customer should be put back in the position they'd be in if the problem hadn’t happened – or as close to it as possible. We may also ask you to compensate them for any distress and inconvenience they experienced as a result of the problem or mistake.
The exact details of how we’ll ask you to put things right will depend on the nature of the complaint, and how the customer lost out. We might ask you to put things right by making changes to a plan, or pay compensation for financial loss. Or we could ask you to do things differently for this customer in the future.
Read more about understanding our approach to compensation.
Business Support Hub
If you want to talk informally about a complaint you’ve received, you can speak to our Business Support Hub. Our Business Support Hub can give general information on how the ombudsman might look at a particular complaint. They also offer guidance on our rules and how we work.
Find out how to contact the Business Support Hub.
Information for consumers
If you’re a consumer looking for information about how we can help you with a complaint, you can read about complaints involving pre-paid funeral plans and how we can help, in the consumer section of our site.
Or to make a complaint, read more about how to complain.