Safe Hands customer? Here are your latest refund and funeral plan rights
If you're one of the 46,000 Safe Hands customers left in the lurch after the funeral provider went bust in March - and you can't get a refund from your card firm - you'll need to contact Safe Hands' administrator to get your money. But you'll only receive up to 20% of what you're owed. You also need to consider alternative funeral arrangements as Safe Hands' plans will no longer be honoured from November.
Below we round up what you need to know. You can also see our Prepaid funeral plans guide for more info on what prepaid funeral plans are and whether you should buy one.
How to apply for a refund on your Safe Hands plan
If you paid on card, try your card provider in the first instance as you'll have more chance getting all of your money back.
If you paid at least £100 towards your plan by credit card at any point, you should try to pursue a refund through your credit card provider via Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. You only need to have paid £100 on a credit card to be eligible to claim under Section 75 - and given many funeral providers require a deposit when setting up monthly payment plans - check if this is the case for you.
Under Section 75, you can claim within six years of being made aware of the issue - in this case, Safe Hands going bust - not within six years of making the payment.
However, it's too late to claim under similar Chargeback rules if you paid by debit card as here the deadline is within 120 days of the issue.
If you feel your card provider hasn't treated you fairly, you can try and complain to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.
If you can't claim on card, contact the administrator - though you'll only get up to 20% back.
If you didn't pay on credit card, your Section 75 claim was rejected, or you weren't refunded everything owed, then you can complete and return a proof of debt form to Safe Hands' administrator, FRP Advisory Trading Limited (FRP).
You should have received this form along with a letter from FRP dated 19 September 2022. A copy of the form can also be found on the Safe Hands website, which you can download and return to FRP, as per the instructions in the letter you have received.
FRP couldn't tell us when eligible customers will receive a refund, though it has confirmed that anyone with active plans when the provider went under should get back between 10p and 20p in every pound they spent with Safe Hands. This means you'll lose up to 90% of what you paid, unless you were, or are, able to get a refund through your credit card provider.
Technically, you can apply to the administrator as a creditor of Safe Hands, as well as submitting a claim under Section 75 through your credit card provider (if you're eligible to). You can then take whichever offers you the biggest refund - which will most likely be your credit card provider.
Consider alternative funeral plans as your cover will end from 1 November
Up until, and including, 31 October, Dignity Funeral Services (Dignity) will honour Safe Hands’ prepaid plans for those in need of a funeral. But from 1 November, Safe Hands' customers will need to buy a new funeral plan from a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorised provider, or opt not to have a prepaid plan and simply leave loved ones to buy a funeral at the time of need.
Purchasing a new funeral plan won’t affect your ability to claim a partial or full refund as a creditor of Safe Hands.
If a prepaid plan is right for you:
- First review what Dignity and Co-op Funeralcare (Co-op) are offering. That's because both are giving Safe Hands’ customers heavily discounted plans. Co-op is giving up to 43% off its standard advertised plans, with some exclusions and amendments, while Dignity said it will do its best "to match the features and inclusions to the plans originally sold by Safe Hands".
Dignity’s offer will be available until at least 12 December 2022, while Co-op’s offer will be available until 29 July 2023. You should have received a letter with details of the plans and discounts available. You can also call Safe Hands' customer services on 0800 640 9928 for more details.
There’s no obligation to buy one of these plans, but if it's right for you, you can register interest by returning a completed consent form (which you should have received by post) to the administrator by post or email no later than 19 December.
Those wishing to purchase a discounted plan will then need to contact the provider directly from 13 December for Dignity and from 20 December for Co-Op, rather than going through the administrator. Contact details will be provided on the Safe Hands website in due course.
- Next, compare Co-op and Dignity's offers with other providers using the tips in our newly updated prepaid funeral plans guide. Always ensure any funeral plan provider you choose is FCA registered. You can do this by checking the FCA register. On 29 July, the FCA authorised 26 funeral plan providers, and granted a further 10 providers an extension to continue to administer existing plans until 31 October 2022 - though they can't sell any new plans.