Funeral misunderstandings and miscommunication are bound to happen from time to time, but it’s how you deal with them that’s important.
The following checklist is provided to help you resolve a dispute if you’re not happy with the service you’ve received from a funeral director.
What are your rights when you pay for a funeral service?
When you pay for a funeral, you have a right for the service you get from the funeral director to be carried out:
- with reasonable care and skill
- within the time agreed or at a reasonable time if no time has been agreed
- at the cost agreed or at a reasonable cost if no cost has been agreed.
If you’ve agreed a price with the funeral director, they shouldn’t charge you more than this unless they discussed it with you first and agreed a new cost.
If the funeral director deliberately misled you about the cost of the funeral, or you feel that the funeral director did not provide the service you had been promised or paid for then you need to make a complaint.
Read our guide on Understanding Funeral Costs.
How to make a complaint
If you have a complaint, speak to the funeral director direct. Clearly explain your problem and ask what they can do to rectify the matter. Disputes can be the result of misunderstanding so it is important to remain calm but firm.
If they are a member of a professional association, check the association’s code of practice to see the standard of service you should expect. If speaking to the funeral director doesn’t work, put your complaint in writing.
If you don’t get a satisfactory response to your complaint, you might be able to complain to a professional association, if the funeral director is a member of one. These associations usually have a system for reporting complaints about members.
Funeral Industry Associations
Most funeral directors are members of an association and are bound by a code of ethics and a minimum set of standards must be maintained at all times. The peak associations for the funeral industry in Australia are:
- Australian Funeral Directors Association
- Independent Funeral Directors Association Australia
- National Funeral Directors Association of Australia
- Association of Independent Funeral Professionals
- Family Owned Funeral Directors Association
- New South Wales Funeral Directors Association
- Queensland Funeral Directors Association
If the funeral director isn’t a member of a professional organisation, you may need to take your complaint further.
If your attempt to resolve your complaint was unsuccessful, you can contact the Office of Fair Trading or you may lodge a formal complaint. Your local state and territory consumer protection agency (sometimes called ‘consumer affairs’) can provide you with information about your rights and options. They may also be able to help negotiate a resolution between you and the funeral director.
The important thing to remember is to keep all your paperwork, as well as records of dates, who you speak to, and what was discussed.
State Departments of Consumer Affairs
- Access Canberra
- NSW Fair Trading
- NT Consumer Affairs
- Office of Fair Trading Queensland
- SA Office of Consumer and Business Services
- Tasmanian Consumer Affairs & Fair Trading
- Consumer Affairs Victoria
- WA Consumer Protection – Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
eziFunerals supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company, and are not a subsidiary of any other corporation. We are not part of any other funeral company.