United Kingdom

Grieving families risk rip off because of secretive funeral pricing

Grieving families are at risk of being ripped off because funeral directors are failing to be transparent with their prices, research by a consumer group has found.

The Competition and Markets Authority, which is consulting on the details of new requirements due to come into force in September, said late last year that pricing information should be given in advance of a customer committing to purchasing a service.

However, Which? carried out research into 112 funeral directors and found that about a quarter of them - 29 - did not include pricing information on their website. It said vulnerable customers could end up paying inflated prices as a result.

Of those that did display their prices, the information was often presented in an inconsistent way, meaning it could be difficult for people to understand what their money was being spent on.

Only 18 directors researched showed an itemised breakdown of costs, with 40 offering a description of what is included in a package but no breakdown.

Jenny Ross, editor of Which? Money, said: “Organising a funeral is already a stressful time for families - that stress shouldn’t be compounded by the fear of paying inflated prices. 

“Our research shows that many funeral directors are simply not showing their costs transparently.  

“To avoid more vulnerable people paying more than they should, funeral directors must do the right thing and be up front about the cost of their services.”

Which? said even those signed up to the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) were not always transparent with their costs. Of the NAFD members analysed, a third (11) did not disclose their pricing online, Which? said.

An NAFD statement said: "We are reviewing the CMA's draft order in respect of online pricing to make sure we align our online member directory capabilities to the order.

"We are likely to introduce enforcement on those provisions of our new code in September, at the same time as the CMA's requirements become law."

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