The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has suggested its transparency rules in the funerals market have resulted in lower costs for bereaved families.
The CMA said its rules were having a “constraining effect” on funeral prices after many years of real-term rises: indeed, 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 ending 31st August 2022. This level is broadly unchanged since the previous year, representing a reduction in real terms, at a time when many other prices are increasing.
The report comes as all funeral directors across the UK have been ordered to comply with rules which ensure bereaved families have the information they need to plan and buy a suitable funeral.
The CMA is also commencing enforcement to tackle non-compliance by some funeral directors and is writing to trade associations seeking their cooperation to support compliance by their members.
An assessment by the CMA indicated that over 100 funeral directors appeared not to be complying with the transparency rules – representing around 5% of providers.
The CMA has also published further guidance for funeral directors and crematorium operators on requirements to make bereaved families better aware about the total cost of the services they may need, as well as allow them to compare the services of different providers.
“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,” said Adam Land, Senior Director of Remedies at the CMA:
“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.”