The Roodepoort Record has received disturbing information about an underhanded practice in the funeral service industry. Some service providers in Roodepoort and the surrounding areas are reportedly also in on it.
The practice involves irregular referrals between state institutions such as mortuaries, clergy, matrons at old-age homes, paramedics and funeral parlours. But the list is not limited to these.
A funeral parlour approached one or more of these parties and offered them an under-the-table “commission” if they referred bereaved families exclusively to them. It goes as far as funeral parlour representatives going to pray for the dying in ICUs and taking advantage of the family’s grief to convince them to use their services.
This practice is unfair to two parties – the funeral parlours that conduct their business above board and the grieving public. It is unfair competition for those who operate fairly, and in the case of the public, it increases the cost of the funeral because the “commission” is worked into the price.
This has also been confirmed by a reliable source within the industry, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.
“It happens, but is very difficult to prove because there is no paper trail for the commission that gets paid,” she said.
Another industry insider said the culprits especially targeted the very emotionally vulnerable.
He said that it was best to build a relationship with a funeral parlour before one actually pays for their services, as that would prevent the parlour staff from inflating the prices to cover the commission.
Jack Bloom, MP and DA Gauteng shadow health MEC, confirmed knowledge of the practice.