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100 funeral directors found to be in breach of pricing rules

Written by: Rebecca Goodman
Letters have been sent to 100 funeral directors, around 5% of the market, after they were found not to be complying with pricing rules.

The letters were sent by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after it introduced transparency rules in 2021 as part of an investigation into the UK funeral market. 

The companies may be named by the CMA along with details of how they have breached the pricing rules.

The transparency rules were introduced to make sure bereaved people were given all of the information they need and they were able to compare prices offered by different companies.

Since the rules were introduced, the CMA said that people are now paying less on average for funerals. 

In the year ending 31 August 2022, funeral directors operating more than four branches charged customers an average of £2,600 for a funeral. The CMA says this is “broadly unchanged” on the previous year representing a reduction in real terms while many other prices increased. 

Further action to follow letters

The funeral directors that have been found to be in breach of the rules have been written to and will receive these letters in the coming days. The CMA said “further action will follow”.

The CMA said it is also writing to trade associations to ask them to support compliance by their members. 

It has also published further guidance for funeral directors and crematorium operators to make bereaved families better aware about the total cost of the services they may need and to allow them to compare the services of different providers. 

Prices must be set out in a ‘standardised price list’ and funeral directors are banned from entering into deals with hospitals, hospices and care homes, or using their contacts with coroner offices and police forces, to tout for business or to gain an unfair advantage.

We are now ramping up enforcement action

Adam Land, senior director of remedies at the CMA, 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.”

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