27 September 2023

Agency lifts lid on clear funeral pricing

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Proposed regulations on funeral pricing are being put forward by Consumer Protection as part of the current reform of the industry.

The regulations are to require upfront price information that is clear and transparent for grieving family members.

In a statement, Consumer Protection said recent Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and CHOICE reports investigated misleading practices relating to ‘bundled packages’ of pricing and contracts for funerals.

“This often saw family or friends of the deceased not understanding all of the costs involved and ending up paying much more than they were led to believe,” Consumer Protection said.

“Some costs are misrepresented as mandatory and people may not know the final cost until after the funeral is held,” it said.

Minister for Commerce, Roger Cook said the proposed changes would require funeral companies to publicly display prices so that those organising the funeral did not have to meet with a representative to obtain this information.

“Not being able to access pricing information upfront makes it difficult to compare prices on funerals at what is an emotionally distressing time,” Mr Cook said.

“A small number of unscrupulous operators have subjected mourners to high-pressure marketing tactics to sell packages that don’t reveal the true cost of individual items, some of which could be considered optional extras,” he said.

Mr Cook said extras did not mean you loved anyone more or less, “they are a choice”.

“The planned new code will make pricing clearer so it will be easier for those mourning a death to make an informed choice about which funeral provider to use,” he said.

Consumer Protection is now seeking feedback on the draft code of practice for funeral pricing, with the closing date for submissions 21 April.

The four-page Draft Funeral Pricing Code can be accessed at this PS News link and information on how to have a say at this link.

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