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Queensland Funerals Are Being Carried Out By Dodgy Undertakers

Queensland Funerals Are Being Carried Out By Dodgy Undertakers

Burying and saying goodbye to a family member are among the most difficult things we ever have to do. It goes without saying, then, that the last thing you want to have to worry about is rogue funeral operators who try to scam you out of money. Which, according to a report on Queensland's 9 News, has been happening a lot recently.

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In the report, Brian Broughan - who's worked in the funeral industry for more than 30 years - explains how these rogue funeral operators scam grieving families, who are unwittingly receiving 'tainted' funerals by companies that undercut the prices of reputable funeral directors who are properly trained.

For example, instead of embalming bodies in a proper mortuary, these companies pour human fluids down the drain.

Obviously this is absolutely disgusting - but also begs the question as to why you'd even want to do that, even as a way of saving money. And that's not all.

Credit: 9NEWS
Credit: 9NEWS

"There are body preparations, be that embalming or basic preparations, taking place in their garages because they don't have the facilities," said Mr Broughan.

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That's not the only way these people make their money, either. Funerals are extremely expensive events and, depending what you want, coffins can cost an absolute fortune.

So imagine shelling out for the one you really wanted - which, given that you're dead, doesn't make all that much sense, but anyway - only for it to be replaced by a dodgy funeral director with a cheap box for the actual cremation so that the operators can then resell the expensive coffin.

That happened back in January in Rockhampton, when Karen Bolck's mother Janice Valigura was removed from her coffin and placed into a cheaper one. Although police investigated, no charges were ever brought against the culprits.

Ms Bolck explains to 9 News how, as a result, she hasn't been able to grieve properly.

"I still can't come to terms with what happened," she said. "At the wake we actually got a phone call saying that mum had been swapped. Her body had been taken out of her coffin... find out she [was] wrapped in plastic and not in the coffin that we've bought. It was devastating."

Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki. Credit: Facebook
Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki. Credit: Facebook

It gets worse. A former worker at a Queensland crematorium told the news outlet how he'd been instructed to place infants in the same furnace as adult strangers. Using the furnace once instead of twice would save the company money, he explained, and because the children were smaller, the ashes wouldn't mix.

Currently, there are no laws in place to prevent untrained operators acting as funeral directors, but as this kind of behaviour is on the rise, so is the call for better regulation. Next week, Australia's shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki will carry out a tour of Queensland to speak with industry officials who are mounting a campaign for greater regulation.

"We can no longer have backyard embalmings, coffin-swapping and mass cremations happening here in Queensland," he said.

Featured Image Credit: 9 News

Topics: World News, Scam, Australia, Fraud

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]

 

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