NCAT decision puts dodgy funeral directors on notice

Goater Funerals in Moree has been ordered to pay Ms Vivian Bligh almost $1500 following a recent decision at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

This is a victory for Vivian Bligh, a Kingaroy woman now residing in Victoria, who was significantly overcharged for the funerals of her two brothers in 2010 and 2012. Ms Bligh’s brothers were both members of the Moree Community. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) represented Ms Bligh.

In one case, Ms Bligh received multiple invoices for the same funeral services, the last charging almost $1500 more than the original quoted price.

In addition, in both cases, headstones have only recently been erected – years after the death of her brothers, despite accounts being paid in full, causing significant distress for the family.

‘This decision is a significant win for the Moree community, who have been concerned about this funeral service for some time,’ said Sarah Bassiuoni, PIAC’s Indigenous Justice Program Solicitor.

‘Charging large sums of money without providing the services that have been promised is not only illegal and unscrupulous, it is a blatant attempt to exploit people when they are at their most vulnerable.

‘Unfortunately, we have heard anecdotally about other cases where funeral services have attempted to take advantage of people.

‘I would encourage people buying funeral services to make sure they understand what is and isn’t ¬†included in the fee, and that they get an itemised quote in writing,’ said Sarah Bassiuoni.

If you would like to make a complaint about unscrupulous funeral operators, contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

MEDIA CONTACT: PIAC Media and Communications Officer, Gemma Pearce: 0478 739 280 

Photo: Flickr

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