Thousands of victims of pre-paid funeral plans still waiting for refunds

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Thousands of victims of pre-paid funeral plans still waiting for refunds

Thousands of victims who bought pre-paid funeral plans from companies that then folded after rules were tightened last year are still waiting to hear about the fate of their money. In recent inquiries Crusader has received, it has emerged that some customers are still experiencing unpredictability, causing misguidedly high expectations about what they will get back. The Financial Conduct Authority introduced a crackdown last summer on pre-paid plans, giving consumers better value and greater protection. Some 20 firms either collapsed or withdrew from the market as a result. ++ If you've been affected by this matter or feel you've been a victim of injustice, please contact Maisha Frost on maisha.frost@express.co.uk ++

John Wallace, among 139,000 customers of Pride Planning, took out an agreement that cost him £3,395. While Pride went into administration, now FCA authorised provider Dignity Funerals stepped in with a transfer rescue for customers so they got a plan that 'as far as possible matched their previous one'. He opted in so he still had cover amid the chaos. However, some months later, he discovered that his chosen funeral director had been changed to one 25 miles away in his home town. He decided that it was too distant and impersonal for John to cancel.

But having waited six months and hearing nothing more about his Pride payment, Crusader said, I'm getting really fed up with the time it's taking and when I will get my money back. As well as venting justifiable frustration that is shared by others, what he said rang alarm bells. After checking, it was as we feared: John was under the impression that he would be fully refunded, something that is very far from certain. The FCA's clean-up consumers were sometimes subjected to pushy sales practices and maneuvered into buying opaque plans that masked complicated financial structures and poorly managed investments. Pride's plan monies are kept in an independent trust, where trustees are responsible for calculating what, if anything, is left for holders. It includes those who took on opting in with Dignity and those who didn't.

John and other customers of Pride Planning will be entitled to any remaining funds we receive from their trust fund. This is probably significantly less than they paid in, said Dignity's spokeswoman, Ingrid Humphrey, in a statement. The information sent to customers also emphasised the position. So far, Dignity has not received any money or timescales, and no timetables have been forthcoming. This is something people deserve, and Crusader supports their demand for officials to get on. The door is still open too, however for John should he have second thoughts about his opt-out. Dignity confirmed that the cut-off date for the upcoming presidential election will be February 7, 2023. We cannot accept late requests.