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)
- Submission to the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General on funeral price transparency (161kb)
- Submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) draft report on the funeral industry (99kb)
- Submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) review of funeral competition in NSW (162kb)
- Submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) review of the costs and pricing of interment in NSW (128kb)
- Complaint to the ACCC about unconscionable conduct in the funeral industry (178kb)
- Submission to NSW Department of Customer Service on the proposed funeral information standard (200kb)
- Coronavirus restrictions are changing funeral rituals
- Funerals investigation part 1: Do you need a funeral director?
- Funerals investigation part 2: How much do funerals cost?
- Funerals investigation part 3: Should you get a prepaid funeral?
- Funerals investigation part 4: The future of funerals
- New funeral cost disclosure regulations announced for NSW
- Funeral giant InvoCare invoices for late payment fees – before you're late
- InvoCare plans backdown on misleading late payment fees
- What to do when someone dies
- DIY will kit review
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.