A FAMILY have lost their case against the Co-op after a series of errors in a loved one’s funeral service.
The family of Leslie Wilson, of Mirfield, were suing Co-op which organised his funeral in October 2009.
He died suddenly after going to Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, for a scan. He suffered a heart attack and died aged 83.
Daughter Carol Engel, of Kirkheaton, and son Ian Wilson, of Bridlington, said “little things which add up to big problems” caused them to take legal action.
They did so on the belief that the Co-op failed to carry out arrangements as discussed for Mr Wilson’s funeral at Dewsbury Crematorium.
They claimed that at the start of the service staff did not know that seven members of the family would put posies on Mr Wilson’s coffin – but could only do it once the service had started.
An unknown version of Pie Jesu – a song specifically requested – was played at the service. Then they were told to sit down at the end of the service, meaning they could not thank fellow mourners on the way out.
The next day, when Mrs Engel went to Dewsbury Crematorium to collect her father’s ashes, she was told that only her brother could collect them. It was resolved and she and her family were able to scatter them at sea.
They also did not know that Joseph Sheard Ltd Funeral Directors, based in Mirfield, were part of the Co-op, thinking they were choosing a local, independent company.
Lastly, they were over-billed by Co-op with extra VAT, a bar bill which was not theirs and a gratuity charge added without their knowledge.
The brother and sister went to Huddersfield County Court yesterday in a bid to refuse to pay the £2,352 bill.
They said it caused added distress at a time when they were already upset.
The Co-operative Insurance Society counter-claimed against their claim.
Mrs Engel said: “With all of the mistakes the Co-op made, can we even be sure it was my father in the coffin? Because there seems to be some incompetence, they didn’t carry out the procedures and they didn’t deal with our complaints properly, can we really be sure of anything else?”
Voldi Welch, for Co-op, said the claimant’s dissatisfaction “does not go as far to render the contract between the two parties unjust.”
Judge Booth refused it, saying it “beggars belief” it ever got to county court: “These problems have festered and have caused personal distress and have hung around for 17 months. But they do not result in a breach of contract.”
Judge Booth told the family to pay the £2,352 bill plus £85 costs. He refused to add Co-op’s request of 8% interest.
After the hearing Mrs Engel said: “I’ve no faith in the British justice system. I felt like from the start they were against us.
“It seems rightness doesn’t always go hand in hand with justice.”