Complaints – SAIF Consumer Protection Scheme

We only have one chance to get a funeral right. But on the rare occasion when things do go wrong, it’s important that funeral director clients have a trustworthy course of redress. 

Any complaint made against a SAIF member is taken extremely seriously, both by the member and by the Society.

Thankfully, bereaved people who use the services of SAIF members benefit from added consumer protection under the Society’s comprehensive complaints resolution scheme. 

Delivered in conjunction with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), the SAIF Consumer Protection Scheme provides a robust set of procedures to bring complaints against funeral directors to a satisfactory outcome for both parties. 

The Scheme has been designed to complement SAIF members’ own complaints processes, as outlined in the SAIF Code of Practice, and the SAIF Professional Standards Committee’s complaints review system. 

Clients dissatisfied with both the findings of a funeral director’s own complaints process and the Professional Standards Committee’s adjudication are able to elevate the issue with an external arbitrator, who can make a legally binding award against or dismiss a complaint against a SAIF member firm.   

All SAIF funeral directors are automatically included in this scheme and can display a window sticker on their premises to reassure clients that they care about standards. 

We have also balanced the need to protect consumers with the small but real risk of people using arbitration for financial benefit, as so often seen with spurious insurance claims. 

If at any stage the client deploys legal representation against a SAIF member firm during the SAIF conciliation, adjudication or arbitration process, we immediately cease this process, to allow the legal action to take its course.

SAIF’s Complaints Procedure

SAIF’s full complaints procedure can be found here.

There are 3 steps within the complaints process

1. Conciliation

This is where the funeral director’s own complaints process is instigated and works with the client to resolve the complaint.

2. SAIF’s Professional Standards Committee

If the client is unhappy with step 1, they can proceed to SAIF’s Professional Standards Committee, where the complaint will be investigated and adjudicated.

  • The complaints form can be downloaded here
  • It should be either emailed to standards@saif.org.uk or posted for the attention of the Professional Standards Committee, SAIF Business Centre, 3 Bullfields, Sawbridgeworth, CM21 9DB.

3. Arbitration

Clients unhappy with the outcome of step 2 can approach CEDR via SAIF for arbitration. This is a formal and legally binding process where the dispute is resolved by the decision of a nominated third party called an arbitrator. Once the arbitrator issues their award it is legally binding and can only be appealed in the courts on very rare occasions. This process is conducted entirely in writing. 

A client taking a SAIF member to arbitration will have to pay a fee of £100 to SAIF to action the arbitration process with CEDR.  This sum  will be returned if the claim is successful. This is to protect SAIF members against malicious claims motivated solely by money.

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