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A public consultation to seek industry and consumer views on the draft Fair Trading (Funeral Pricing Code of Practice) Regulations 2022 (the Funeral Pricing Code) closed on 21 April 2022. The Funeral Pricing Code was published on 8 November 2022 and will commence on 1 May 2023.
View a copy of the Funeral Pricing Code Gazette 160 of 2022 (legislation.wa.gov.au)
Recent investigations into the funeral industry have found a lack of price transparency on funeral goods and services (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report (ACCC) and CHOICE investigation report). To address this, the McGowan Government advised that it would be introducing a new code of practice for the funeral industry under the Fair Trading Act 2010 (WA) to improve how prices are provided to consumers.
Public consultation on the draft Funeral Pricing Code commenced on 24 March 2022 to seek feedback on the proposed requirements and to consider any practical implications before the new Funeral Pricing Code commences.
Consumer Protection wrote to 76 funeral industry stakeholders and published a survey seeking feedback on the draft Funeral Pricing Code on the Consumer Protection webpage. A total of 16 responses were received from the funeral industry, and 58 responses were received from consumers. Consumer Protection also held meetings with stakeholders to obtain further feedback.
A report summarising the outcome of the consultation found the main issues of concern to consumers about pricing were:
100 per cent of consumers who responded to the survey supported the Funeral Pricing Code requirements.
Industry respondents had no significant objections to the Funeral Pricing Code, however certain issues were raised around the pricing requirements and specific issues for the WA sector. The issues were raised included:
The majority of funeral directors supported a six-month transition period. More information can be found on the report covering Consumer Protection’s response to the feedback provided by industry.
The Funeral Pricing Code provides that funeral directors must prominently display funeral information for goods and services supplied by the funeral director at each place of business and on their website (if they have one). This will enable consumers to compare prices of various funeral goods and services without being required to engage with a funeral director. Funeral directors are also required to general funeral information to consumers who have requested it, within two business days.
Funeral directors must also provide the following information to the person before entering into an agreement with the person for the supply of goods and services for a funeral:
The Funeral Pricing Code has been based on requirements already in place in New South Wales (Funeral Information Standard) and in Queensland (Fair Trading (Funeral Pricing) Regulation 2022) to make requirements consistent for businesses operating interstate and/or nationally.
The Funeral Pricing Code applies to any funeral director who supplies funeral goods and services in WA. The pricing requirements applies to both pre-paid funerals and ‘at need funerals’. Funeral Directors who provide pre-paid funerals also have to comply with the Fair Trading (Prepaid Funerals Code of Practice) Regulations 2020.
The Funeral Pricing Code has been approved by Government and published in the Government Gazette. Funeral directors in WA will now have six months to make changes to their business practices to ensure compliance with the Funeral Pricing Code. The Funeral Pricing Code will come into effect on 1 May 2023.
Consumer Protection will develop industry guidance material to assist funeral directors on how to comply with the Funeral Pricing Code, including a template example for how pricing can be provided. This guidance material will be available on our website by the end of 2022.
Education resources will also be developed to include guidance for consumers purchasing funeral goods and services. The resources will include guidance on how to engage with a funeral director when purchasing funeral goods and services, their rights under relevant laws, and understand what the minimum legal requirements for a funeral service are.
Enquiries about the Funeral Pricing Code can be made by calling Consumer Protection Advice Line on 1300 30 40 54 or by email.