Funeral comparison website company opens shop in Kingsbury Square

The new yellow store which has opened has prompted a wave of questions from Bucks Herald readers as to what it is it sells.

By Thomas Bamford
Monday, 2nd March 2020, 1:29 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd March 2020, 1:31 pm
Beyond is now looking to help people realise there are better value alternatives to medieval window dressing and morbid customer service.
Beyond is now looking to help people realise there are better value alternatives to medieval window dressing and morbid customer service.

The shop is called 'Beyond' and it offers patrons a chance to drop in and chat about their funeral needs over a cup of coffee.

Beyond was initially a funeral 'price comparison site' - however they have been forced to open a shop in Aylesbury because nearly 70% of the industry refused to sign up, despite Beyond offering their services for free.

Beyond is now looking to help people realise there are better value alternatives to “medieval window dressing and morbid customer service”.

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Beyond’s founder Ian Strang today branded those providers sabotaging competition “morally bankrupt” as he officially opened the company’s first branch at 50-52 Kingsbury — in the heart of Aylesbury town centre.

Customers can pop into the Beyond shop to chat about their funeral needs over a cup of coffee.

The store will also host community groups to remove any stigma attached to funeral ‘parlours’, with Beyond designing its own as a place of hope and happiness.

The firm, which hopes to roll out drop-in after life shops all over the country, aims to get more people talking about death much earlier, so they make positive choices about what happens to them after they die.

Beyond’s consultants will also assist with simple or complex wills, and help relatives who have lost someone get grant of probate or administer an estate. Half of deaths require a grant of probate and it’s another desperate consumer purchase made with little knowledge when bereaved.

Beyond has been campaigning for five years to change the face of the funeral industry and the way it serves consumers.

Among its complaints is the fact that many funeral directors hide their pricing and have little or no online presence.

In half of cases, funeral directors’ websites don’t even display pricing for funerals arranged at the point of need while, over the phone, nearly a quarter fail to explain what quotes cover, according to independent research.

This makes it almost impossible to shop around.

In total, 30% of funeral directors feature on the site but 70% have declined to list their services and pricing.

The sector’s reluctance to compete on quality and price persists despite the archaic industry facing not one but TWO official probes — an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as well as an HM Treasury consultation that threatens to result in regulation of the pre-paid funeral market by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Ian Strang, co-founder of Beyond, comments:

“The Aylesbury store will hopefully be the first of many and it really stands out from the crowd.

“We’ve worked hard for five years to help the industry improve but our mission remains unfulfilled. They say if you can’t beat them, join them. That’s why we’re hitting the high street, so people can see that there are better value alternatives to medieval window dressing and morbid customer service.

“I would love to be able to tell you this move into bricks and mortar is down to a mean minority but that’s not the case.

“The industry has dug its heels in and too many firms are quite happy quietly ripping off grieving consumers who just want to get funeral arrangements in place as quickly as possible.

“The industry is still plagued by antiquated, gloomy companies who make a fortune preying on people who, with more important things on their mind, have never needed a comparison site more.

“It’s clear that the funeral industry as a whole doesn’t want to compete effectively on price and quality. Keeping consumers in the dark and making it difficult to compare providers keeps the money rolling in. It is simply grotesque.”