Quaker Social Action reports 240 funeral directors to CMA

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Since September 2021, the Down to Earth funeral costs team at Quaker Social Action has reported 240 funeral directors to the CMA who have been seen to be breaching the Funerals Market Investigation Order.

Brought into force by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on 16 September 2021, it placed several legal requirements on UK funeral directors, including displaying prices online and in branch.

Lindesay Mace, who leads QSA’s influencing work on funeral poverty and funeral costs, said:

It is scandalous that, well over a year after the CMA’s Order came into force, so many companies are still abdicating their legal responsibility to bereaved customers.

“Those in the funeral industry who are not yet compliant with the Order need to step up and quickly, and if they don’t, we trust the CMA will exercise its powers of enforcement.

“Arranging a funeral can be a distressing experience, even more so if you don’t have the funds. People should not have the added stress of feeling in the dark about prices and payment terms.”

During 2018-2021 the CMA conducted a full-scale investigation into the funeral industry after finding many families struggled to find clear prices and details of services online and were unable to shop around.

QSA had helped to bring about the CMA’s investigation through its Fair Funerals campaign, and provided feedback and evidence throughout.

QSA’s Down to Earth funeral costs helpline supports people who are faced with organising a funeral and struggling to pay.

The average basic funeral in the UK costs £4,056, according to Sunlife, with 17% of customers struggling to pay for one. In the context of the ongoing cost of living crisis, many more bereaved families could be pushed into debt to cover funeral costs.

QSA helps people to consider options, reduce costs and raise funds towards the funeral. In the course of this work the charity research the prices and services of hundreds of funeral directors. To date 240 have been identified who have not been complying with the CMA’s requirements around displaying prices or payment terms, and they have been reported to the CMA.