Update: New UK Funeral Costs Pricing Order Issued
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has imposed new pricing regulations on its funeral industry. Beginning September 16, 2021, UK funeral directors must present a printed list of the prices of products and services they offer. Itemized charges may include such things as the separate costs for tending to legal and administrative arrangements, embalming of the body, transportation of a prepared body or ashes, interment, and presence of an officiant, for example, as well as the prices of optional items and products available (such as caskets and urns).
The UK’s High Cost of Not Living
The average price of funerals in the UK has been steadily increasing since 2004 at a clip furious enough to alert the CMA and spur other analysis, even before the pandemic. Connecting Directors has been following the CMA investigation since its earliest days, covering matters of the regulation of advertisements , the watchdog probe on inflation in the funeral industry, and the rising cost in general of an average UK sendoff in the time of Covid.
The purpose of the UK’s new order is to ensure that survivors have ready access to price information, so that they may knowledgably compare costs. The CMA’s investigation revealed that due to the distressing nature of funeral planning in general, most people did not shop around or even question prices as they made arrangements. The result was frequently that loved ones ended up spending beyond what they could comfortably afford, without understanding that there were alternatives available.
GPL … UK Version
The price lists will be required to be displayed prominently in both physical places of business and on websites.The formal announcement, made in a CMA press release of June 16th, indicates the following:
The Order requires that, from 16 September 2021, all funeral directors must display a Standardized Price List at their premises and on their website. This list must include:
- The headline price of a funeral.
- The price of the individual items comprising the funeral.
- The price of certain additional products and services.
In addition, from 17 June 2021, funeral directors may not:
- Make payments to incentivize hospitals, palliative care services, hospices, care homes or similar institutions to refer customers to a particular funeral director.
- Solicit for business through coroner and police contracts.
Crematorium operators will also be required to provide specified price information to funeral directors and customers. The CMA expects all funeral directors and crematorium operators to take action to ensure the changes are implemented by the legal deadlines.
Compliance with the order will be legally enforced.
Along with the inquiry into UK funerals, recently Scotland’s government also began taking steps to combat ‘funeral poverty.’ There’s government involvement on home soil, too; but in the era of COVID, when the industry’s “new normal” reconfigures on the regular, it may be that official involvement in deathcare is expanding.
Thanks to Connecting Directors contributing writer Jennifer Trudeau for this story!