The NSW Government has announced new rules for the funeral industry, which will make it easier for people to access price information when planning a funeral. CHOICE says the changes are a good start and the funeral industry must be held to account across the country.
The new rules will force funeral providers to list costs of services at their place of business and website and provide price details before entering into an agreement.
The announcement follows a recent CHOICE investigation that found many funeral homes are charging inflated prices and profiting from a lack of price transparency.
"Families are being taken advantage of when they're at their most vulnerable. Our investigation found an industry where manipulation, overcharging and misinformation were the norm," says CHOICE investigative journalist Saimi Jeong.
"It's important that Governments and regulators, like the NSW Government in this case, act on manipulative markets. The funeral industry must be held to account across the country."
CHOICE's investigation found many funeral businesses flouting existing laws and the consumer advocate says monitoring and enforcement will be key.
"Arranging a funeral can be an emotional and time-sensitive process. When coping with grief and arranging a funeral, we're almost always reliant on funeral suppliers and are limited in our ability to shop around. The new rules are a step in the right direction and will make it easier for people to find options that are fair, affordable and appropriate. It's important that the industry is monitored and these new rules are enforced effectively."
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CHOICE's funeral costs investigation is available here
CHOICE's submission to NSW Fair Trading is available at Choice Policy Submissions