Funeral directors across the UK will be banned from paying hospitals and care homes for referrals, says UK regulator.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation in 2018 amid complaints that “extremely vulnerable” consumers were at risk of being exploited.
The legally enforceable rules are being brought in after an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation, whose findings were published last summer, found that some funeral directors were providing “unacceptably low levels of care of the deceased” to UK consumers. Sound familiar?
Under the rules announced on Wednesday, from 17 June, funeral directors will be banned from making payments to incentivise hospitals, hospices, care homes or similar institutions for referring customers to a particular funeral director. They are also blocked from soliciting business through coroner and police contracts.
According to Nigel Davies, of Lonergan & Raven Funerals, a Past President of the National Funeral Directors Association of Australia (NFDA), the practice of offering incentives is still occurring in some facilities, which inevitably encourages such ‘soliciting’. Independent funeral directors have also been expressing concerns about the deals the larger corporates have pushed with the hospitals and palliative centres for may years. Those corporates have contacted many major public hospitals, palliative centres, and private age care facilities with a simple offer: “You can cut costs and close your mortuaries, and we will do your transfers for free: as long as you hand over the family contact information and let us ‘negotiate’ with them.”, he says.
Organising a funeral is one of the hardest things that anyone must do, and it is vital that people are treated fairly. Customers need clear information so that, if they wish, they can determine which funeral director can transfer a loved one into their care..
We hear of too many stories of hospitals and palliative care facilities releasing a body to a funeral director without the families knowledge. And when the family decides to appoint another funeral director, there is an dispute over the body and additional costs that were not of the families making.
Families have enough stress in coping with the grief of a loved one. This poor practice just adds to the families grief and should also be banned in Australia.
eziFunerals supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company. We are not part of any other funeral company.
Our member Funeral Directors operate in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Australia wide. Thet are chosen for their knowledge, quality, service, personalisation and experience. They go above and beyond, and will take the time to support the family.
For more information or to make contact with a trusted Independent funeral director, call eziFunerals on 1300 236 402 or visit www.ezifunerals.com.au.