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CHOICE examines the funeral industry

October 2021

lots of flowers on a coffin at a funeral the hidden costs of a funeral
CHOICE staff
CHOICE staff

In mid-2019 CHOICE began an extensive investigation into the consumer experience of arranging funerals. Our work found that the funeral industry is rife with poor practices that leave grieving people vulnerable and perhaps worse off. Unclear pricing, misinformation, fees for no service and a highly concentrated market where the true ownership of funeral providers is obfuscated are just some of the poor practices we uncovered.

This led to CHOICE requesting an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) market study into the funeral industry to shine a spotlight on the industry's shady practices. 

NSW acted on these concerns in 2019 and introduced a funeral information standard to require funeral directors to display certain information to better equip consumers to select a service for their needs and budget. 

The Queensland government announced a consultation on funeral price transparency in August 2021, and CHOICE made a submission to this advocating for better price transparency for people in Queensland through the introduction of regulation similar to that in NSW. 

CHOICE believes regulation should require funeral service providers to use simple, standardised and consistent language and terms, and disclose the following as a minimum:

  • prices for specific items (itemised pricing)
  • what services provided are legally required to help consumers identify add-ons from the service provider
  • the price of their professional services fee
  • the price of the least expensive funeral package that includes a funeral ceremony (if supplied by the funeral provider)
  • the funeral provider's ultimate holding company.

Download submissions and public complaints (PDFs)

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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.