The U.K. funeral firm Co-op Funeralcare has a bit of explaining to do after a TV show revealed treatment of the dead being called shocking and disappointing. Channel 4's 'Dispatches' used hidden cameras to uncover gross mistreatment of the deceased.
There's been widespread revulsion in the U.K. over the program's revelations, that despite the fact it hasn't been seen nationally. It airs June 25 but contents are becoming known and have been seen by media. It's causing a stir that will surely magnify once it goes to air.
“I’m shocked," former funeral ombudsman Prof. Geoffrey Woodroffe was quoted in The Sun as saying. "They’re treating people as if they’re stacking TV sets.”
'Undercover Undertaker' with Jackie Long
Some of the practices the episode, called 'Undercover Undertaker' with correspondent Jackie Long, reveal may be criminal. Four bodies crammed into one casket and transported, with no lid, in a van and then unloaded in front of apartment buildings, the piling up of naked corpses "like TV sets," producing the wrong corpse to a dismayed family at a funeral and persistent attempts to sell families on higher cost funerals, reportedly in violation of industry standards.
Co-op Funeralcare does a lively trade, with some 850 funeral homes handling 100,000 funerals in the U.K. in 2011 and making over $50 million in profit. Naturally, those involved in running the company are scrambling to let the U.K. public know they are unhappy with the practices and intend to make changes.
George Tinning, the managing director for funerals at Co-op Funeralcare, said he was "shocked and disappointed" by the practices at some of his firm's locations. “This isn’t the way I want our funeral directors to behave," he said. "We will investigate and deal with it appropriately.”