New regulations to make funeral costs clearer
- Funeral pricing will be publicly available to enable easy comparisons
- Grieving family and friends will know the total cost before a funeral is held
- Unscrupulous sales practices will be stamped out to stop overcharging
New regulations are now in place that will result in funeral costs being clearer and making it easier for those grieving to make informed decisions at a difficult time.
Funeral companies operating in Western Australia will be legally required to publicly display prices, enabling funeral organisers to access information upfront, compare costs and avoid the need to meet with a representative of the funeral company to obtain this information.
The Funeral Pricing Code of Practice brings to an end unscrupulous sales practices relating to 'bundled packages'.
The pricing and contracts in these packages often resulted in funeral organisers not understanding the total costs involved, with some optional items misrepresented as mandatory. In many previous cases, the final cost of the funeral was unknown until after it was held, leading family and friends of the deceased to believe they were overcharged.
More information on the Funeral Pricing Code of Practice is on the Consumer Protection website. A six-month period will be allowed for companies to put measures in place to comply with the new code, but they are encouraged to comply as soon as possible.
The Code will become mandatory from 1 May 2023.
Consumer confusion over pricing led to the McGowan Government initiating funeral industry reforms and building upon the introduction of a mandatory Prepaid Funerals Code of Practice, which came into effect in WA on 1 March 2021.
This code provides for greater clarity and certainty surrounding prepaid funeral contracts and requires all goods and services to be detailed, prices to be fixed at the time of signing the contract and a 30-day cooling off period.
Payments to prepaid funeral funds need to be managed within secure investments under the name of the client until they are required.
Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Roger Cook:
"It is important to point out that the vast majority of funeral operators provide professional and sensitive services.
"But we need to ensure grieving relatives are protected financially when they are at their most vulnerable.
"I'm sure these reforms to the WA funeral industry will be welcomed by those who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of having to organise a funeral for a loved one at an emotionally distressing time.
"The new pricing code of practice will help ensure the true total costs of a funeral are known upfront and allow families to make more informed decisions around optional add-ons.
"This action by the McGowan Government will give greater protection to grieving family and friends, with protections that will allow them to make a better informed choice of the funeral provider they use."
Minister's office - 6552 6500
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