A GRIEVING family are warning Solihull residents to check funeral charges in the borough after they were slapped with a huge £1,250 bill from Solihull Council Bereavement Services.
Timothy O'Brien from Solihull buried his late mother Kathleen O'Brien at Robin Hood Cemetery and Cremation in Streetsbrook Road where his deceased father had purchased a double plot.
He was expecting a bill of £450 after a quote from funeral directors, Ian Hazel in Sutton Coldfield but was astounded to then receive a bill for £1,250 from the council, who said as Mrs O'Brien had not been a resident of Solihull for 15 years, the family would be expected to pay the charge applied to those living out-side the area.
"What they are charging is outrageous. My mother was a resident of the borough for 20 years but she was in a nursing home for the last 15 years in Little Aston where my sister lives.
"When she went into the nursing home her bungalow was sold to pay her fees. You come in to this world with nothing and they make sure you go out with nothing.
"My father is buried in Robin Hood and he bought a plot to accommodate him and my mother and in all their lives my parents never drew a penny off the state. We feel really aggrieved."
The Maybridge Drive resident added: "Solihull Council say it's because she wasn't a resident of Solihull at the time of her death. This is grossly unfair - it certainly doesn't warrant a 300 per cent increase in charges. We want to make people aware of council policy; it's like a shotgun wedding. You're forced to the alter."
Gordon Hull, Bereavement Services Manager said: "We sympathise with Mr O'Brien, and do not wish to add to the family's distress. As Mrs O'Brien had not lived in Solihull for 15 years, we are unable to charge the same fee as we would for someone who is a resident.
We apply discretion if someone has just recently moved into residential care out of the borough, but this is not the case here.
Like other neighbouring councils, we charge more for the burials of people who do not live in the borough and Mr O'Brien should have been quoted the correct fee - £1,250 - from the outset to avoid any confusion.
We have written to Mr O'Brien and offered to meet with him to discuss the situation."