Today, Thursday 16 September 2021, is a landmark for price transparency in the funeral profession.
Following an industry-wide investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority, the Funerals Market Investigation Order was published on 16 June 2021, giving three months for implementation by funeral directors and crematoria.
A CMA video on new changes in the funeral sector
Quaker Social Action has been campaigning for price transparency measures since the launch of the Fair Funerals pledge in 2015. Whilst we are delighted that these measures have been implemented and have been broadly welcomed by those in the profession, we still believe that price transparency can go further.
The front line work by our Down to Earth service, the only UK-wide funeral costs helpline, has shown that bereaved people can be disadvantaged by having to ask for price information. The CMA investigation identifies bereaved people as vulnerable consumers. These vulnerable consumers can find it much harder to decline a service once they ask for a price, often because they fear that this could be construed as an inability or unwillingness to pay for it.
It is imperative that all price information is provided to clients, enabling them to make informed decisions. We believe that information relating to burials should be made available in the same way as cremations, making clear the fees for the purchase of the exclusive right of burial as well as interment. Additionally, we believe that fees for the leader of a ceremony – a minister of religion or celebrant; services supplied out of office hours, particularly collection costs; and doctor’s fees for the completion of cremation certificates, where applicable, should be indicated within published price lists.
Quaker Social Action, therefore, plans to persist with its efforts to increase price transparency further by continuing the Fair Funerals pledge and encouraging funeral directors to give their clients complete information to make informed choices about the arrangements they make.
Funeral directors across the UK are recognised for going the extra mile for their clients, and we ask them to take these additional steps for the benefit of their clients.