Safe Hands this week hired FRP Advisory to oversee its bankruptcy proceedings, putting up to 45,000 funeral plans in question. We’re hearing from customers who are worried they won’t be able to get a refund
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Safe Hands this week hired FRP Advisory to oversee its bankruptcy proceedings, which have affected up to 45,000 people burial plans in doubt.
The decision means the company will no longer accept payments or take on new customers.
But for the people who have already signed a plan with Safe Hands, they now have to wait a long time to see if they can claim some of their money back.
One customer, Diane Eaton-Lees, 65, contacted The Mirror and explained how she drew up a funeral plan in September 2018 and paid just under £3,000.
The retired debt collector, who lives in Walsall, tried to apply for a refund two months ago – before the company collapsed – but says she hasn’t gotten a dime back.
“I tried to cancel two months ago after deciding I wanted a no-frills cremation,” she said.
“I’ve received emails saying I’d get a refund, but it seems I’m not getting anything back now.”
Another client, Bill Robins, 41, from Poole, completed a funeral plan after a health issue and paid out £1,895 in March 2020.
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He claims Safe Hands told him his money was protected by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The company had only submitted an application to the FCA, which has now been withdrawn.
It precedes the new regulation of the funeral sector, which will come into force from July.
“Safe Hands told me my money was protected by the FCA but they were never there, they just had an application to join,” Bill said.
“I paid them £1,895 for a cremation. You misled me and now I could lose my money.”
Trevor Sarre and his wife, aged 66 and 60, told The Mirror they had paid over £8,000 to Safe Hands and now say they have no idea if they would get any of it back.
“We paid £4,024 each to this company and now they’ve gone into administration and we may not get our money back,” he said.
“In February I was assured that our money is in a safe fund.”
When a business goes bust, customers have to ask administrators for a refund — but in most cases there’s no guarantee that the money will be returned to those who don’t have pockets.
Those affected may recover even a small portion of their debt once the trustees pay off the company’s debt.
Nedim Ailyan, Partner at FRP and co-manager of Safe Hands, said yesterday: “The company is currently unable to process refunds”.
“As joint administrators, we have been appointed by the court and will conduct a detailed statutory investigation into the financial condition of the company and the events leading up to the bankruptcy,” she added.
“This will support our work as we make progress in liquidating the company’s assets to provide creditors with recoveries.”
Administrators said they will contact all affected customers and their personal representatives to outline the procedure for registering claims.
However, according to a note on Safe Hands’ website, “Administrators are unable to confirm any potential estimated returns for plan holders at this time.”
An agreement has been reached with funeral home Dignity to provide funeral planning services to existing clients for a period of 14 days.
The Mirror has reached out to FRP Advisory for comment.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/i-paid-3000-safe-hands-26555917 'I paid £3,000 for a Safe Hands funeral plan - but now I might not get a dime back'