Grahame Morris MP is supporting a campaign that aims to establish a ‘Bereavement Standard’, which would require service providers to agree to a minimum level of service to speed up the process of closing personal accounts when a person dies.
The campaign was set up by a constituent, and a change.org petition to Parliament currently has over 90,000 signatures.
Services including utilities, TV license, TV and Broadband, Mobile phones, and entertainment subscriptions are not covered by the UK Government’s ‘Tell us Once’ service, which allows a bereaved family to report a death to most government organisations in one go.
As a result, it can take weeks or months, and involve multiple calls and emails to each service provider, to close accounts. In addition, some companies demand to see a death certificate or other additional proof and paperwork before closing an account. These delays result in unnecessary additional stress for grieving families.
As more than 600,000 families across the UK deal with the death of a loved one each year, it is vital that the Government acts to improve the process of closing accounts. With the coronavirus pandemic having claimed tens of thousands of lives this year, now is the time to push for change.
The campaign calls on the Government to introduce a new set of agreed standards which commercial service providers would be required to meet.
The Bereavement Standard would establish:
- An agreed timeframe for companies to respond to bereavement enquiries and settle outstanding customer balances.
- A bereavement customer care email channel for each company, to directly handle such cases and avoid customers waiting on calls.
- The standardisation of paperwork needed to close an account, with a view to accepting digital documents whenever possible.
- The Bereavement Standard will make it easier for families going through a difficult time.
This petition is supported by Cruse Bereavement Care.