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Funeral parlour sets traps

PLEASE allow me to share with you and the rest of the country the latest scam involving funeral parlours based on personal experiences.


A female close relative of

mine died in the early hours of November 5 at her Hatcliffe home and her poor unemployed husband reported the death at the local police station. He was informed that he would have to make private arrangements for the movement of the body to a morgue, as the police no longer provided such a service.


He was then asked by a police officer on duty whether he would be willing to contract Vineyard Funeral Services. He paid $1 million in cash, which seemed reasonable considering the prevailing fuel situation for the transportation of the body to a mortuary.


Since the driver could not furnish him with a quotation for further services if so required, he suggested that the husband visit Vineyard parlour for a quotation. Meanwhile it was assumed that the body would be taken to a government hospital for post-mortem.


The next morning, the husband obtained a doctor’s report from Parirenyatwa and was informed that the deceased’s national ID had been retained by Vineyard. After collecting the ID from a reluctant representative of Vineyard he then proceeded to Market Square for a death certificate and burial order.

All went well as he managed to get all the requisite documentation for burial.


On arrival at Parirenyatwa mortuary later in the afternoon to collect the body for burial, we were taken aback to find it missing. After a records search we were then advised to contact the funeral parlour, and upon arrival, we were perplexed to be presented with a quotation of charges due amounting to $4,5 million over and above the $1 million already paid.


Even though there was no direct contact and consultation between the parlour and the aggrieved husband or any family representative, we were presented with a $600 000charge referred to as consultation fee, a further $800 000 charge as shortfall on transport (for allegedly not opting for full service), a projected charge of $1 million for mortuary storage and other ancillary charges.


This was despite the fact that there was no agreement or instruction or contract signed for these charges. On querying the charges above, we were boldly, bluntly and rudely told by the services manager, a Mr Pakete, that the charges stand and hence the body could strictly and only be collected on cash payment of the charges as per the quotation presented (no invoice).


The next morning saw us meeting the owner and MD of Vineyard, a Mr Chikanda, a very arrogant, insensitive, and uncompromising man by all standardsand we were similarly told, albeit rudely, that the consultation and totalcharges stand and that we were by virtue of talking to him riding on othercharges.


Despite repeated pleadings and highlighting the apparent communication breakdown, the man stood hisground.


The only consolation we had was the dropping of the extra charge ontransport after the driver testified before all present that he had notfore-advised the husband on this and other charges, the conditions andcompany policy.


At the end of the day, we paid under protest. God knows how many innocent souls have fallen prey to the bait approach, where this and other funeral parlours allegedly work in cahoots with corrupt police officers to lure and trap unsuspecting grieving parties.


They must be raking in millions considering the state of our public health delivery system where there is very limited bed space in public hospitals consequently leading to an upsurge of cases of very ill people being turned back and terminal cases being referred for home-based care. Most of these victims are too poor to afford decent meals, to afford the prescribed medication and the level of hygiene and personal care worsens their health.


Cheated By Death,

Harare.

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