Resolving Complaints & Disputes
If you've had a problem with a funeral services provider, we can help put things right.
Is your funeral services provider a member of the Funeral Directors Association?
We can only help resolve complaints and disputes about member firms.
Check the funeral home is a member of the Funeral Directors Association here.
Have you told your funeral services provider about your complaint?
Funeral Directors Association members must have a complaints process. Contact them to go through your concerns and get their response. Very often your complaint will get resolved at this stage.
Is your complaint a fee dispute?
We cannot resolve complaints about fees. Fee disputes can be raised with the Disputes Tribunal.
However, if a member did not meet our standards to provide a written estimate up front we can investigate. Our standards require members to:
- Provide client families with a written estimate of all charges and other related costs to be made on the client family’s behalf at the time of taking instructions, or as soon as is practicable thereafter.
- Detail the costs of funeral products, services, and facilities.
- Make it clear that the client family has signed and accepted responsibility for the estimate.
Please refer your complaint to us if you are unable to resolve your complaint directly
You’ll need to do this no later than 90 days after the funeral.
It is helpful if you can tell us:
- What you think your funeral services provider has done wrong
- How their action or omission has affected you
- What you would like to happen to put things right
We’ll need this information in writing. You can:
- Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Use the contact us box on our website
- Call us on 04 473 7475 so we can take details over the phone then email you to confirm in writing
- Send us a letter to PO Box 25148, Wellington 6146.
What happens next?
We will ask your permission for our CEO to contact the member firm and share details of your complaint. They will encourage them to work with you to try resolve the problem informally.
If the problem isn’t resolved within 14 days informally, we will consider your complaint if it meets the following criteria:
- it’s appropriate for us to consider the complaint rather than referring it to a court, or by another independent or statutory complaints or conciliation procedure, or by mediation or arbitration;
- except where relevant new evidence is available, the subject matter hasn’t already been included in a complaint by the same complainant; or by any one or more of them, previously considered by the Association;
- the subject matter has not been, or is not, the subject of proceedings in or before any court, tribunal, mediator, arbitrator, ombudsman, or any other body involved in complaints or disputes resolution;
- the subject matter is not a fee dispute;
- consideration of the dispute would not cause the Association to infringe trade practices legislation or any other legislation
If it meets these criteria your complaint will be forwarded to our Association President who will set up a formal Complaints Committee of experienced funeral service professionals.
The Committee will investigate and once their findings have been ratified by the Funeral Directors Association Board, we will provide these to you in writing.
If you (or the member firm) don’t agree with the findings, you’ll have 60 days to appeal the decision.
If no appeal is made the findings will be full and final and you will not be able to make a further complaint.
If an appeal is made, the Board will appoint an impartial Funeral Disputes Mediator who will complete their own investigation.
The types of outcomes you may get from mediation may be similar to what our Complaints Committee finds, but they are not bound to follow any earlier decisions.
External dispute resolution
You may prefer to take your complaint directly to an independent dispute resolution service such as the Disputes Tribunal. In that case we cannot also investigate your complaint.