Bereavement Standard campaigners demand ministers act urgently

Campaigners for a new Bereavement Standard say that a shocking Which? report that uncovers glaring failures in treatment of bereaved customers highlights the urgent need for digital death certificates.

Which? says that a survey of 1600 members reveals that dozens of people experienced banks losing death certificates after they registered a death. Which? reports that after HSBC lost one man’s death certificate, his bereaved daughter – who said the whole process was ‘shambolic’ – had to find £4,000 herself for the funeral.

Vicky Wilson, co-founder of the Bereavement Standard campaign and CEO of Settld, said: ”This report exposes the urgent need for a much better system. We want all service providers, including banks, to adhere to better standards. We need digital death certificates introduced by the government as a matter of priority, to ensure that bereaved customers are not left in limbo if their documents aren’t treated with care.

“Bereaved customers deserve so much better. Ministers say that this is a priority area for them, but we want action not warm words.”

Which? says more than a third of people who needed to close accounts after a death experienced delays of longer than 3 months. One in 10 people who were responsible for closing a deceased person’s account after the March 2020 lockdown said they were dissatisfied with the skill and knowledge of bank staff during the process.

Steven Wibberley, CEO of Cruse Bereavement Care, joint founders of the Bereavement Standard campaign, said: “The poor treatment which bereaved customers receive can often be shocking, and this report highlights a glaring gap in the training of staff. A new Bereavement Standard would oblige companies to properly train their staff how to engage with bereaved customers sensitively and appropriately.

“Grieving customers should be allowed proper time to grieve, and not be put under additional distress by service providers at what is already an incredibly difficult time.”

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