The legal requirement for funeral directors and crematorium present clear and comparable pricing to customers is now in effect.
Following action by the Competitions and Markets Authority, funeral directors and crematoria were given 3 months to comply with legislation which includes the requirement to display a Standardised Price List in their window at their premises and on their website. This list must include:
- The headline price of a funeral.
- The price of the individual items comprising the funeral.
- The price of certain additional products and services.
Funeral directors cannot provide incentives to institutions such as hospitals or care homes to refer customers to them. Crematorium operators must also provide specified price information to funeral directors and customers, displayed in the same places.
The original investigation found a number of consumer protection issues including variation in pricing for similar services between funeral directors and the way that information was provided made it hard for families to compare prices and choose the right combination of services.
Martin Coleman, CMA Panel Inquiry Chair, said:
Arranging a funeral is a very difficult and often unfamiliar process, which can mean the price is the last thing on our minds. These changes will make it easier for grieving families to compare costs and choose the right service for their loved one.
We gave funeral directors and crematorium operators 3 months to implement these changes and this legal deadline must be honoured. We stand ready to take action – including naming providers – if they fail to follow the rules. The final cost of a funeral should never come as a surprise.
The move comes as the sector is working toward becoming more closely regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The application gateway is now open with a fee reduction for applications made before November 2021, after which the application fee will increase by 40%.
It is intended that regulation with drive higher standards in the funeral plans market. The new rules will mean:
- funeral instalment plan products will always deliver a funeral (after a moratorium period) and those that don’t guarantee this will be banned
- cold calling will be banned and new standards on advertising will be implemented to ensure plans are sold fairly
- commission payments to intermediaries will be banned to ensure products represent fair value
- those selling funeral plans are subject to full checks on their fitness to operate to improve governance standards and oversight