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From today, funeral companies in Western Australia will face enforcement action if they fail to comply with new pricing laws introduced by the McGowan Government that make funeral costs clearer for those grieving the loss of a loved one.
The new regulations in the Funeral Pricing Code of Practice stop sales practices that made it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions at a distressing time.
Funeral directors are now legally required to publicly display prices, allowing consumers to access information upfront, compare costs and avoid the need to meet with a representative of the funeral company to obtain this information.
A detailed breakdown of funeral costs must also be provided, instead of the unscrupulous sales practices relating to 'bundled packages' offered previously - which misrepresented optional items as mandatory and created confusion over the total cost of the funeral.
In some previous cases, the final cost wasn't known until after the funeral was held, leading family and friends of the deceased to believe they were overcharged.
More information on buying a funeral (for consumers) and selling funerals (for businesses) is on the Consumer Protection website.
The mandatory Prepaid Funerals Code of Practice, which came into effect in WA on 1 March 2021, provides for greater clarity and certainty surrounding prepaid funeral contracts.
Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Sue Ellery:
"Losing a loved one is a distressing experience. We need to ensure the newly bereaved are protected financially when they are at their most vulnerable.
"At a time of grief, many mourners need to make funeral arrangements quickly. Under no circumstances should relatives or friends be misled or subjected to high pressure sales techniques.
"Most funeral operators are doing the right thing, but this reform puts an end to some businesses exploiting mourners and provides grieving families and friends with more clarity to make informed decisions at a difficult time.
"With the changes implemented by the McGowan Government now being enforced, consumers can easily compare prices online without speaking to a company representative. They should receive a full breakdown of prices and know exactly what the total cost of the funeral will be."
Minister's office - 6552 5700