UK families have been left devastated after discovering a hidden clause in a funeral agreement which led to their loved one’s bodies being left in their homes for days on end.
Instead of moving on with the grieving process, families who had signed up to a “cowboy” cremation plan were forced to wait until business hours for the bodies of their loved ones to be removed family homes and taken to the crematorium, The Telegraph reports.
The families had inadvertently agreed to the conditions hidden in the fine print, meaning they had to wait throughout the night or even over the weekend if their loved one had died on a Friday evening for the body to be collected as part of a “direct cremation”. Direct cremations have shot up in popularity in recent years; the no-fuss process sees a person’s body taken from a home or hospital and cremated without a funeral service.
Campaigners have now launched into action, calling on the British government to regulate the funeral industry and put a stop to the clause, which has placed many in “considerable distress”.
According to The Telegraph many providers across the UK do not highlight the added charges families may face for collecting bodies from anywhere that is not a hospital, putting residents in a difficult and upsetting situation, and half of the providers in the country claim they will not collect bodies at all outside of normal business operating hours.
While the loophole has sparked anger in the UK, the rules are different in Australia and while there are added costs for collection of bodies outside of certain hours this is communicated with customers clearly, meaning family members have time to prepare to have the extra cash on hand if needed.
With a direct cremation option, families agree to a set price which includes basic fees and charges, along with transportation of the body during business hours. When a body needs to be collected outside of these hours a fee is charged, with the amount depending on how far the body is being transported. However, this is detailed from the start so families can prepare accordingly.
Where a person dies in hospital the body can, in some cases, be stored in a holding area at the facility until business hours to avoid extra charges, or collected for a fee if no holding area is available.
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