Angus Council has been accused of “profiteering” after charging two burial fees at a family plot as a mother and son were laid to rest on the same day.
Gillian Maddock held the joint funeral of her brother, Iain and her mother, Margaret Ogilvie, at Barry Church, Carnoustie on Tuesday.
The mother and son died within days of each other following Iain’s battle with prostate cancer and Margaret’s death at a nursing home at the age of 94.
A challenging situation was made even more difficult after the local authority originally charged two fees to excavate the family plot at Panbride Churchyard.
“I was astonished when I discovered I was going to pay twice to excavate the grave, when it was only being dug once,” Gillian said.
“They are attacking people when they are at their most vulnerable and just ripping them off.
“Stuart, my husband, has used the word ‘profiteering’ to describe it. People are not in a position to argue or question it you are just going to go along with it and pay.”
‘I’m stunned at the way they’ve gone about it’
The Maddocks and the funeral directors, Selwood, in Carnoustie said they were “disgusted” by the two £711 fees.
After some discussion Angus Council backtracked and offered the second interment at half price.
Gillian explained: “Originally we were going to be charged £1,422 for both interments and a perpetuity fee of £328.80 before they said they’d do the second one for half price.
“It’s one job they are doing, how can they justify charging for it twice? Even if they have reduced the price. I’m stunned at the way they have gone about their business.”
‘I really felt for them’
Funeral Director, Robin Marshall from Selwood Funeral Directors said he was shocked at the treatment the family received.
“You are only preparing the ground once,” he explained.
“I asked the council to send me an email confirming this disgraceful charge and, right enought, they were double charging a family for the preparation of the lair.
“If this burial had been conducted in Dundee the family would have only been charged for one interment.”
Gillian’s husband, Stuart, thanked the funeral directors and added: “The service went really well on Tuesday.
“But we didn’t have any option but to pay it and there wasn’t much rope to try and contest it.”
An Angus Council spokeswoman added: “Our policy is to charge for each individual burial, however on this most unfortunate occasion we have reduced the second burial fee by 50%.”