Jason Cutts, aged 38 and his wife, Alison, aged 39, of Dittany Gardens, suffered a bereavement when Mrs Cutts’ mother, Dorothy Fabian, who lived with them, died on May 19, at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading.
On Monday May 28, the couple approached Camp Hopson funeral directors, of West Street, Newbury, to arrange Mrs Fabian’s funeral, which included a service at West Berkshire Crematorium, Thatcham, burial of ashes at Basingstoke, flowers and a hearse. They paid a £400 deposit towards a final account of more than £4,000, with the balance to be met by an insurance policy.
The couple say they received a telephone call from Camp Hopson funeral directors on Tuesday, May 29, informing them that a larger deposit was required, owing to an error.
“We thought about £100,” said Mr Cutts. On arrival at Camp Hopson they were informed that a total £1,200 was required.
“The manager said we had to pay for the crematorium and this and that, and they needed £1,200, or we would have to find someone else,” said Mr Cutts.
“Apart from the stress of mum dying, we then had to find another funeral directors,” he said. “I am outraged.”
Mr Cutts said that they then approached Geoffrey Church & Co funeral services in Thatcham, where they were told that no deposit was needed. He praised the Thatcham company for their handling of the matter, and for their help.
Managing Director Services at Camp Hopson, Brian Allen, said it was general practice in the funeral industry to request deposits from clients.
“Our company policy is that the value of the deposit should be equal to the estimated disbursement charges. Disbursements are costs outside Camp Hopson’s direct control, for example, crematorium/doctor’s fees, florists and so on. All other charges are invoiced on completion of the funeral,” said Mr Allen.
“On this occasion, owing to an unfortunate administrative error, the minimum deposit required was mis-stated and the client felt unable to meet this request.”
“Our funeral staff considered a number of alternative options to meet the deposit requirement, but none of these were deemed to be suitable.
We wish to sincerely apologise for any distress and inconvenience caused by this unfortunate and regrettable sequence of events and have already started a thorough review of our administrative procedures relating to deposits in order to ensure that all clients of Camp Hopson Funerals receive the highest standards of customer care and attention to detail they expect.”