Landmark decision for funeral costs

A Gold Coast couple has won a landmark court case against Alex Gow Funerals over a $50 prepaid funeral plan.

Gavin Turner refused to pay a $7,195 bill for his mother Beryl’s funeral in 2012, arguing she had already covered the costs through a prepaid agreement she began in 1948.

Beryl Turner had paid small instalments to Alex Gow Funerals from the age of 16 totalling $50 between 1948 and 1980 and was issued with a certificate from Alex Gow in 1980 after making her final payment.

Alex Gow Funerals had commenced proceedings against Mr and Mrs Turner on the grounds that the $50 Beryl had paid was not enough to cover the most basic of funeral services today and would only equate to a $390 discount on any funeral.

Beenleigh Court Magistrate Joan White held the contract was valid and should be honoured in today’s prices on the basis that the agreement contained the words “without further payment” and did not provide that $50 would be deducted from the funeral costs. She ordered Alex Gow Funerals to honour the decades-old agreement and pay court costs.

National Senior Australian Chief Executive Michael O’Neill welcomed Magistrate White’s decision, saying he hoped it opened the door for people who had already paid for a funeral to receive some compensation.

The decision could potentially affect up to 19,000 other Queenslanders with family members who took out similar prepaid funeral plans with Alex Gow and Metropolitan Funerals after World War II.