In past year, eziFunerals has published a number of articles on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into the UK Funeral Services industry.
This investigation examined a range of issues including how people approach the purchase of a funeral under the extremely difficult circumstances that precede and follow the death of a loved one.
The CMA has now published its provisional conclusions on its in-depth market investigation, which has highlighted a number of concerns for funeral consumers.
Summary of Funeral Report Findings
The CMA investigation found that the following features, individually and in combination, restrict or distort competition in connection with the supply of funeral director services.
Low level of customer engagement caused by the intrinsically challenging circumstances surrounding the purchase of a funeral
Organising a funeral is one of the most distressing purchases we will ever make. Funeral consumers tend to take short-cuts, are unlikely to shop around, and are at high risk of making poor choices.
Lack of easily accessible and clearly comparable information on the products and services provided by suppliers, including their prices and levels of quality
As funeral consumers tend to hand over control to the funeral director they first contact, they are more likely to be exploited at their time of grief.
Some funeral directors do not give price information until asked for it. Funeral directors sales practices vary from fixed packages, a menu of options, or in some other manner. This restricts the consumer’s ability to make comparisons between funeral directors providers and the different options available to them.
CMA Funerals Market Investigation: Provisional Decision Report 2020.
Over-reliance on well-known local funeral brands
The consumer’s reliance on well-known brand funeral homes means that consumers make incorrect assumptions about both quality and price. This is a particular concern following a change of business ownership, where the big funeral chains continue to advertise the local brand names they have acquired, significantly more prominently than their own brand.
Lack of visibility to customers of the level of quality of care given to the deceased by funeral directors
As consumers are unlikely to enquire about what happens behind the scenes, care of the deceased, including operational standards of back of house facilities, there is a trade-off between price and quality.
Although the funeral industry in the UK is different than Australia, there are similar parallels to consumer behaviour and the way funeral directors market their services to vulnerable people at their time of grief.
Peter Erceg, Owner and Founder eziFunerals, said the findings by the CMA, have identified some important lessons for consumers here in Australia. People organising a funeral can be exploited at one of the most emotional and stressful times in their lives”, he says.
The last time the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reviewed the Australian funeral industry in detail was in 2011, when InvoCare announced the acquisition of Bledisloe Group.
Although the ACCC has been slow to respond, earlier this year, they announced its key compliance and enforcement priorities for 2020, which included the funeral industry at the top of the list.
Only time will tell if the fallout from the UK funeral inquiry will have serious flow on effects for the funeral sector in Australia.
eziFunerals Related Articles
Request free quotes from local funeral directors and get an estimate of funeral costs. It’s easy. Give it a try!
eziFunerals 24/7 Support
eziFunerals is an independent, Australian-owned and operated company. We are not part of any other funeral company. Founded by consumers frustrated by how difficult it was to get independent information, eziFunerals supports consumers plan a funeral, compare prices and find a trusted funeral director anywhere, anytime.