Hull funeral home inquiry: About 200 people affected by 'fake funeral plans' - MP

Rachel Marshall and Rita Goldspink
Rachel Marshall, left, said her mum, Rita Goldspink, paid £2,700 for a funeral plan [Rachel Marshall]

About 200 people may have bought funeral plans that were non existent from a Hull funeral home at the centre of a police inquiry, an MP has claimed.

Emma Hardy, MP for Hull West and Hessle, has appealed for banks to refund those who took out policies from Legacy Independent Funeral Directors.

She is arranging a meeting with the government to discuss the issue.

The funeral firm is being investigated by police following a report of "concern for care of the deceased".

Aerial view of a Legacy funeral director on Hessle Road
Police continue to investigate Legacy Independent Funeral Directors [PA Media]

Under the chargeback scheme, a voluntary arrangement to which Visa, Mastercard and Amex are members, consumers who have paid by card can ask the provider to refund them within 120 days of making a payment for failed services, faulty goods or fraud by a merchant.

Ms Hardy said she was only aware of one person - a 92-year-old woman- who had been refunded via the scheme.

Rachel Marshall's 76-year-old mother, Rita Goldspink, spent £2,700 in April 2018 for a pre-paid funeral plan from Legacy.

Ms Marshall said: "We were told last week by the bank that they couldn't process a refund because [the policy was taken out] some time ago.

"I've tried every angle to get my mum's money back but it's just not going to happen."

Ms Marshall added her mother would not be able to afford to buy another funeral policy.

Ms Hardy said she believed "about 200 individuals" in her constituency had bought policies from Legacy.

Ms Hardy appealed to banks to be "flexible" in offering refunds, at their discretion, regardless of how long ago the policies were bought.

She also asked for the 120-day limit to take effect from the moment individuals were informed their policies did not exist.

"I just really want the banks to be as sympathetic as they possibly can be and recognise this is a unique situation," said Ms Hardy.

Ms Hardy said she received a letter from the Treasury confirming the government is willing to discuss the matter further after raising the issue in the House of Commons on 17 April.

She said she hoped the meeting would result in "some pressure on the banks to offer some discretion".

HM Treasury has been contacted for a comment.

Human ashes and 35 bodies were recovered from the company's Hessle Road premises and taken to a mortuary. The families involved have all been contacted, Humberside Police have said.

A 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position. They have since been released on bail.

The force said its dedicated helpline numbers remained open.

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