Clearer pricing to avoid confusion over funeral costs
- Seeking feedback on proposed funeral pricing rules for WA
- Price to be displayed upfront, clearer and more transparent for funeral organisers
- Aim is to stamp out misleading practices at a distressing time for those who have lost a loved one
Confusion over the true cost of funerals will be targeted by proposed regulations being put forward by the McGowan Government as part of the current reform of funeral industry pricing practices.
Following the introduction of a mandatory code of practice for prepaid funerals last year, the next step proposed is further regulation to require upfront price information that is clear and transparent for grieving family members.
Recent Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and CHOICE reports investigated misleading practices relating to 'bundled packages', pricing and contracts which often saw family or friends of the deceased not understanding all of the costs involved and ending up paying much more than they were led to believe. Some costs are misrepresented as mandatory and people may not know the final cost until after the funeral is held.
The proposed changes will require funeral companies to publicly display prices so that those organising the funeral do not have to meet with a representative to obtain this information. Not being able to access pricing information upfront makes it difficult to compare prices on funerals at what is an emotionally distressing time.
Consumer Protection is now seeking feedback on a draft code of practice for funeral pricing via its website. The closing date for submissions is Thursday April 21, 2022.
The mandatory Prepaid Funerals Code of Practice in WA, which came into effect on March 1, 2021, already provides greater clarity and certainty surrounding prepaid funeral contracts with all goods and services to be detailed, prices fixed at the time of signing the contract and a 30-day cooling off period. The code also requires payments to prepaid funeral funds be managed within secure investments under the name of the client until they are required.
Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Roger Cook:
"Pricing can be major source of concern for people organising a funeral for a loved one.
"A small number of unscrupulous operators have subjected mourners to high pressure marketing tactics to sell packages that don't reveal the true cost of individual items, some of which could be considered optional extras.
"Extras do not mean you loved anyone more or less, they are a choice.
"Not being able to access pricing information upfront makes it difficult for people already grappling with grief to know if they are being overcharged for a funeral.
"The planned new code will make pricing clearer so it will be easier for those mourning a death to make an informed choice about which funeral provider to use."
Minister's office - 6552 6500
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