Competition Watchdog Helps Keep Funeral Costs Down
The CMA has also published further guidance for funeral directors and crematorium operators on requirements to make bereaved families better aware of the total cost of the services they may need and allow them to compare different providers.
The guidance includes information on how funeral directors must set out their prices on a standardised price list and how funeral directors are banned from entering into deals with hospitals, hospices and care homes.
They are also banned from using their contacts with coroner offices and police forces to tout for business or gain an unfair advantage.
The CMA’s Adam Land said: “Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can go through – so it is particularly important that funeral providers give their customers all the information they need.
“A small number of providers are not doing this. The CMA put these rules in place to ensure bereaved families can trust the funeral service they buy is the one that best meets their needs. Our new guidance will support providers in delivering for bereaved people.
“We are now ramping up enforcement action to ensure that the minority of funeral providers who are breaking the rules by not being open with bereaved families will face the consequences.”
New transparency rules are helping keep down the spiralling cost of funerals, according to a review by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The review found that funeral directors operating more than four branches charged their customers on average just over £2,600 for funeral services in the year to August 31 last year.
This level is broadly unchanged since the previous year, representing a reduction in real terms, at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is sending many other prices through the roof.
The report comes as all funeral directors across the UK have been ordered to comply with rules to ensure bereaved families have the information they need to plan and buy a suitable funeral.
The CMA is starting enforcement to tackle non-compliance by some funeral directors – and is writing to trade associations seeking their cooperation.
The first batch of enforcement letters have been sent to funeral directors found to have breached the Funerals Market Investigation Order 2021, with further action to follow.
An assessment by the CMA indicated that around one in 20 funeral directors – more than 100 in all – appear not to be complying with the transparency rules.