In the latest investigative report by CHOICE, Australia’s largest publicly listed funeral company has been accused of misleading funeral customers by charging customers a late fee, regardless of whether they pay on time or not.
The CHOICE investigation found that InvoCare are charging hidden fees and issuing misleading invoices to take advantage of grieving families.
It’s called an “administration fee” and costs $352 including GST. The administration fee functions like a late fee and was being automatically included, regardless of whether people paid on time.
CHOICE compared InvoCare’s tactic with the financial industry’s fees for no service unearthed in the banking royal commission. But where banks were charging fees for services that never got delivered, InvoCare’s fee was never meant to be for a service. Its purpose, when applied as intended, is to penalise people for delaying payment.
CHOICE: A Guardian Funerals invoice shows that a customer paid the full cost of the funeral in advance and paid the administration fee, not realising it was actually a late fee they didn’t need to pay.
Check your Funeral Bills
Choice has urged Australian customers of the following funeral services to check their bills.
- White Lady Funerals
- Simplicity Funerals
- Value Cremations.
New South Wales & Australian Capital Territory
- Allan Drew Funerals
- Ann Wilson Funerals
- Boland Funerals a Guardian Funeral Provider
- David Lloyd a Guardian Funeral Provider
- Grafton & District Funerals
- Guardian Funerals
- Hansen & Cole a Guardian Funeral Provider
- Hastings District Funeral & Cremation Service
- Lester & Son Funeral Directors
- Liberty Funerals
- Southern Highlands Funerals
- Tobin Brothers a Guardian Funeral Provider
- Universal Chung Wah Funeral Directors
- WN Bull Funerals.
- Burkin Svendsens Funerals
- City Funerals
- Drysdale Funerals
- Gatton Laidley Lowood Funeral Services
- George Hartnett Metropolitan Funerals
- Hiram Philp Funerals
- Mackay Funerals
- Somerville Funerals.
- Blackwell Funerals
- English Rose Funerals.
- J.A. Dunn Funeral Directors
- Turnbull Funerals.
- Charles Crawford & Sons
- Le Pine Funerals
- Lester & Son Funeral Directors
- Southern Cross Funerals
- Tuckers Funeral & Bereavement Service
- The W.D. Rose Funerals group of funeral homes includes Joseph Allison Funerals, Giannarelli Funerals and Werribee Funerals.
- Archer & Sons Funeral Homes
- Christian Funerals
- Green Endings by Oakwood Funerals
- Mareena Purslowe Funerals
- Oakwood Funerals
- Purslowe & Chipper Funerals.
According to CHOICE, this latest breach of trust has resulted in a complaint to the ACCC arguing that InvoCare has breached Australian consumer law. In the complaint, CHOICE describes the way InvoCare bills late fees as “unconscionable because of the particular vulnerabilities of funeral consumers and InvoCare’s full knowledge of their special disadvantage”.
Peter Erceg, owner eziFunerals, says ‘this is not the first time that InvoCare has been caught out misleading funeral customers. ‘This is the same company that was fined by the ACCC in 2014 for false and misleading practices on the purchase of memorials for use at burial sites’.
So, if you’re contracting the services of a local funeral director, it’s important you know the company your dealing with before making that first phone call and it helps to know your rights and understand how the industry operates.
Unlike the larger funeral brands owned by publicly listed companies, eziFunerals member funeral directors are small family owned businesses and provide real value for money when compared to the large corporate brands. They work for consumers and not shareholders of publicly listed companies.
Learn more about the funeral industry 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, and are not a subsidiary of any other corporation. We do not conduct funerals and we are not part of any other funeral company.