Breaking news: Funeral costs to be investigated by CMA

June 4, 2018, 10:15 a.m.

Funeral costs are to be reviewed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to make sure people aren’t exploited by high prices.

Breaking news: Funeral costs to be investigated by CMA Funeral costs are to be reviewed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to make sure people aren’t exploited by high prices.

As you can imagine, we’re absolutely over the moon to see these conversations taking place. Imagine planning a relative’s funeral, only to be told “by the way, the costs for transport, cremation fees and the wake aren’t included.” It can come as a shock and can be very upsetting in a time where you’re already dealing with overwhelming emotions and stress. We believe people should be given access and complete transparency for all the information they need, both before and after a loved ones dies. In fact, we believe you should be able to have look and start thinking about these things now, without thinking it’s morbid or experiencing the pressure of going into a funeral directors!

The average cost of a funeral last year was almost £3,800. Many pre-paid funeral plans don’t cover aspects such as transportation to and from the funeral, the wake, burial plots, embalming or memorial plaques and stones. Some families are paying up to £2,000 extra for these, even though they thought it would be included in their loved one’s funeral plan. These ‘surprise’ costs can come as a shock to families, causing unnecessary stress and grief.

Check out the latest funeral costs in the UK

It’s so important that the funeral industry gives more control to customers. The funeral directors and pre-planning services should take away any exploitation and instead focus on allowing customers to make a choice. A choice they can afford. A choice they’re content with.

The Treasury is looking into changes to pre-paid funeral regulations and plans to open a consultation process. Several consumer groups have complained about pre-paid funeral plans and the additional costs some families face after their relatives die.

We don’t blame these families at all. Instead of being dictated to by funeral directors, families should be able to connect with suppliers directly. Then they can approach the funeral director with fairer prices given to them by the suppliers. For example, if a family doesn’t use the funeral director’s suggested coffin-maker and instead goes to a coffin maker of their choosing, they could get a lot more value for their budget...and a lot more choice.

That’s where the CMA comes into play. The CMA will look into general funeral costs and aims to make sure people are getting complete transparency with regards to prices and services such as cremation fees and coffins. The organisation will publish an initial report in six months and a final report six months after that.

Funeral costs are regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), but it currently has limited powers to punish funeral directors who overcharge families. It’s about time the industry removed communication barriers and treated families with respect when it comes to funeral costs.

Dignity, one of the biggest providers of funeral services and pre-paid funeral plans in the UK, saw share prices fell by 13.8% on Friday. This was after the news that the CMA plans to review prices and competition in the funeral industry. Dignity share prices have fallen by a total of 42% since the start of this year. In response, the company has cut the price of its “simple funeral” option from £2,700 to £1,995..

Senior Director of Markets at the CMA, Daniel Gordon, commented, “People can understandably be very emotionally vulnerable when planning a funeral. We therefore think it is important that - at what can be a particularly challenging time - the process is made as easy as possible.”

At huunuu we connect customers directly with funeral suppliers such as coffin-makers, celebrants, urn vendors and much more. We’re the go-to introduction platform for families and funeral suppliers. We believe transparency and choice should be a natural part of planning a funeral and no one should be pushed into a particular choice when planning their own, or a loved one’s funeral.

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