eziFunerals Owner & Founder, Peter Erceg has welcomed the recent announcement from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman, that the funeral industry was a top priority for the agency this year.
In his first public address of the year (25/02/2020), Rod Sims, declared he will take action against funeral operators ripping off vulnerable consumers.
“There’s a lot of potential for unconscionable conduct, where people are obviously in a very disadvantaged situation,” he told an event in Sydney sponsored by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.
“There’s a lot of times where they’re getting charged for things they shouldn’t have been, and promised things they don’t get – and also, you’ve got the potential for competition problems because it’s a very concentrated market.”
‘It’s time for Australia’s competition watchdog (ACCC) to protect consumers at their time of grief’
eziFunerals has been expressing ongoing concerns about the Australian funeral industry over many years, says Erceg.
Although there have been numerous state and territory government inquiries in the past, not much has changed. In fact, some may even argue that things have got a lot worse for consumers.
“The first thing the ACCC should do is look at continued acquisitions of small independent funeral homes by the big funeral chains and the monopolisation of the industry”, he says.
The funeral industry in Australia has now grown to a $1.6 billion dollar industry, and is currently dominated by two ASX listed companies, InvoCare and Propel Funeral Partners. This is the greatest concern for consumers.
In a market economy, the big funeral chains are able to demand higher prices for their service because they have limited competition. They have become immensely powerful and use this power and economies of scale to further benefit themselves, at the expense of consumers.
Most funeral homes in the industry do the right thing, but the ACCC needs to act in the interests of consumers, even when there are marketplace reasons not to do so.
Only time will tell if the ACCC is serious about taking on the big funeral chains and shonky operators.
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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.