Competition & Markets Authority
CMA action makes funeral prices clear for grieving families
Funeral directors and crematorium operators have a legal duty from today to present clear and comparable pricing to customers, as a result of CMA action.
- Funeral firms must be upfront about their prices and products.
- The CMA has teamed up with Gloria Hunniford in a bid to ensure that people know their rights.
- The CMA will take action to make sure that providers follow the rules.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published an information page to help customers understand their rights and issued a short video voiced by broadcaster Gloria Hunniford.
Following its in-depth market investigation, the CMA ordered the funerals sector to take steps to make it easier for families to arrange a funeral that meets their needs and budget. All firms had 3 months to implement the changes and funeral directors are now legally required 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.
Crematorium operators must also provide specified price information to funeral directors and customers, displayed in the same places.
The CMA’s market investigation identified a number of concerns, including that prices for similar services differed considerably 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.
The CMA consulted with funeral directors, crematorium operators and groups representing people arranging funerals across the UK to implement a package of changes. On 17 June, the first of these were written into law, including banning funeral directors from incentivising certain institutions – such as hospitals or care homes – to refer customers to them.
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.
This latest announcement is part of the CMA’s wider work to protect vulnerable consumers, which includes taking action against pharma firms over excessive prices and creating IVF guidance so patients understand their consumer rights.
More information can be found on the funerals market investigation web page.
Notes to Editors
- The legal Order follows an extensive consultation process in which the funeral sector and third parties had the opportunity to contribute their views on the design of the Order.
- The investigation was conducted by a Group drawn from the CMA’s panel of independent members, chaired by Martin Coleman. The other members were Richard Feasey, Sheila McClelland and Karthik Subramanya.
- The exceptional circumstances of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic meant that some of the remedies the CMA might otherwise have pursued, including measures to control prices, could not be developed.
- The government’s response to the CMA’s funeral market report can be found here.
- The CMA has published a blog further explaining the changes that funeral providers and crematorium operators must make here.
- For media enquiries, contact the CMA press office on 020 3738 6460 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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