Once revered for exceptional services, the biggest funerary services provider in the country, Funeral Service Group (FSG) Limited, otherwise better known as Lyns Funeral Parlour is losing its shine from its loyal clients whose complaints are that the undertaker’s services currently leave a lot to be desire.
This publication has learnt that oversight institutions have in recent times been inundated with complaints from unhappy clients to the effect that the once reputable FSG Limited seems to have reneged from its mission of providing funeral products and related services to the community in a caring, professional, dignified and compassionate manner.
Problem areas they say include high hidden costs, ‘fraudulent’ prepaid funeral plans, sales of unnecessary products and unmet promises at the time of need which relate to vehicles late arrivals, damaged caskets upon arrival and poor facilitation of corpses from Princess Marina Referral Hospital to FSG Limited, amongst many others.
It has also been reported by Doves Funeral Parlour to Competition and Consumer Authority in March 2020 for allegedly “engaging in the conduct of abuse of dominance”.
A perusal of the customer satisfaction report leaked to this publication shows a list and pattern of complaints raised with the management from clients where clients also raise other issues of poor communication, late arrival of the hearse on burial day, mixed up programmes with wrong dates, malfunctioning of casket lowering devices and many others.
In one of its reports, FSG says mortality rates have improved consistently in recent times which has resulted in a gradual decline in the number of funerals serviced.
“Decreasing disposable income led to a reduction in average spending per funeral and a declining persistency in the payment of monthly funeral insurance premium. The weakening Pula has led to increased cost of imports and made the manufacturing of caskets in Botswana, for supply to Zambia and South Africa, uncompetitive. The sale of graves in Phomolong Memorial park did not see any significant growth due to reduced customer spending,” reads the report.
Sources say something seems not to be going
We pay a lot of money and we must be respected so that we bury our loved ones in an appropriate manner and in keeping with our wishes and the sentiments.
“They sometimes take advantage of our grief because customers shop with a different mentality when grieving. You don’t have time to compare prices and services when you are grieving. Lyns can make the cost of dying very high and inconvenient,” remarked a customer who says she was once disappointed after paying a lot of money to the undertaker.
The problems are worsened by the low savings levels which mean funeral insurance is proving an easier sell amongst people daunted by the cost of ceremonies. Batswana generally spend heavily on honouring their dead as a sign of respect and a goodbye gesture.
FSG Head of Operations, Duncan Banyatsi in an interview admitted that some customers have been complaining but rushed to add that most are misdirected complaints.
“We do get complaints and often we get calls from Consumer Watchdog to answer for our transgressions, but the truth of the matter is that in most cases the clients do so as a result of misunderstanding what our role is in providing some services,” he said.
Banyatsi also said they have since reviewed some services to align them with customer needs and expectations.
Asked about the prevalent complaints he said “some policy holders complain of withholding of vital information during our presentations. Some say we deliver damaged or scratched caskets which we admit as we sometimes travel longer distances on bad road infrastructure and others complain of changed practices due to COVID-19.”