Cost of UK funerals to be probed – average package now almost £6K
Two separate probes are being launched into the way funeral charges are set and whether they are fair.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating “to ensure that people are not getting a bad deal.”
Plus, the Treasury will examine concerns over the way pre-paid funeral plans are sold.
There have been complaints that even when funeral packages have been paid for, relatives still face extra costs.
The government is looking into the idea of bringing in stricter rules for pre-paid plans and has launched a consultation process.
The CMA investigation will look into the cost of funerals other than the pre-paid market. It wants prices and services to be clear and fair.
The average cost of a funeral in 2017 was nearly £3,800, the CMA said. But, when extras are added, that price can rise by another £2,000, hitting £5,800.
A probe into the costs of funerals by Royal London, the insurance company, found the average debt taken on by customers who struggled to pay for a funeral was £1,680 in 2017.
With pre-paid plans, there have been complaints of hidden, extra costs, such as embalming, cortege cars, burial plots and headstones.
The rising level of cremation fees will be also be looked into, with cremations now accounting for 75% of all funerals.
Daniel Gordon, Senior Director of Markets at the CMA, said:“People can understandably be very emotionally vulnerable when planning a funeral. We therefore think it is important that – at what can be a particularly challenging time – the process is made as easy as possible.
“As part of this study, we want to ensure that people can at least receive clear information on prices and the services making up a funeral, and that people get a fair deal on the cremation fees charged.”
Views are welcome on any of the issues raised in the statement of scope by the 28 June.
An interim report, presenting initial findings and views on potential remedies, will be published in 6 months, ahead of the final report in a year’s time.
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