Refund for grieving families after Durban funeral parlours' Covid-19 price gouging
Durban: Three Durban funeral parlours accused of inflating prices of funeral products and charging exorbitant Covid-19 “handling fees” have refunded customers.
According to Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) an investigation into alleged price gouging was launched following numerous complaints by members of the public.
During a consumer rights awareness campaign at Esikhaleni outside Richards Bay on Sunday, MEC Ravi Pillay said the department had investigated 13 complaints against three Durban funeral parlours.
“Nine of these complaints were against one of the three funeral parlours.
“The main allegation was that the funeral parlours had inflated prices of funeral products and charged exorbitant Covid-19 “handling fees”.
“There were also complaints that funeral policies were disregarded and grieving families were made to pay additional fees without being given adequate information.
“Following our investigation and mediation processes, there has been progress on these cases. The funeral parlour facing nine complaints has since made offers to the complainants.
“These offers included discounts and refunds on Covid handling costs,” said Pillay.
He said the second funeral parlour, which had been facing three complaints, refunded one complainant in full and resolved the other two complaints with the complainants concerned.
“The third business also resolved the matter with the sole complainant against the business and the complaint was withdrawn,” Pillay said.
The Department has shared its findings and recommendations with the National Consumer Commission.
“We will continue to monitor the situation, and call on anyone who may have fallen victim to this to come forward with information. We also warn funeral businesses not to engage in unscrupulous conduct as they may suffer reputational damage,” said MEC Pillay.