Funeral directors operating in WA must follow pricing and contract rules when offering funeral services.
A funeral director is a person who provides funeral goods and services in connection to providing a funeral.
Do you sell prepaid funeral contracts?
Consumer Protection is seeking views from industry and consumers on their experience and operation of the Prepaid Funerals Code since it commenced in March 2021.
Consumers must be able to easily access funeral prices, compare services and make better informed choices about burials and cremations.
Funeral directors must have available a list of funeral information, services, prices and packages to consumers in a way which is easy to read and understand under the Funeral Pricing Code.
What do I have to do under the pricing code?
A funeral director must:
- prominently display ‘funeral information’ for goods and services you supply, on your website (if you have one) and at your place of business, including a price of a basic funeral package;
- provide this funeral information to consumers within two business days of a request; and
- provide the consumer with itemised fees for all goods and services supplied under a funeral agreement, including the total cost of the funeral before entering into the agreement.
What is funeral information? Is there a template?
The price list template shows an example of the funeral information required.
Funeral information means:
- an itemised price list showing the services supplied by the funeral director:
- transport of the body prior to burial or cremation
- storage of the body at a mortuary or holding room
- hire of a refrigeration plate
- each type of coffin, casket or shroud supplied (or the price range of all coffins, caskets or shrouds supplied)
- care and preparation of the body prior to burial or cremation
- viewing of the body prior to burial or cremation
- arrangement and conduct of a funeral service (including hire of the venue)
- burial or cremation of the body
- the location of the mortuary or crematorium used by the funeral director
- or the name of the owner or manager if the mortuary or crematorium used is not owned or managed by the funeral director
- a reasonable estimate of the following disbursements –
- cost of obtaining a death certificate
- cost of obtaining any other certificate or permit required under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1998 (WA), the Cremation Act 1929 (WA), the Public Health Act 2016 (WA) or any other written law, in relation to the body
- any fee charged by a cemetery or crematorium for a burial or cremation
- an estimate of the price of the basic package for a burial and for a cremation arranged by the funeral director, and a list of the goods and services in the package and
- how a body is transported prior to burial or cremation.
You must display prices for each of the funeral goods and services you supply that fall under the definition of ‘funeral information’ in the Funeral Pricing Code.
If you offer other goods and services, you can display the prices of these as well, however this is not a requirement.
Do I have to offer a basic package?
You are required to provide itemised prices for all goods and services, this includes a basic package of the least expensive combination of essential goods and services. You must specify what goods and services are included in the basic package, including any supplied by a third party. An example could be a ‘no service, no attendance’ burial or cremation.
Can I continue to maintain existing package prices?
Yes. Prices of any funeral packages offered can also be displayed but must be in addition to the itemised price list of goods and services. This means a funeral package price list cannot be used in place of an itemised price list of good and services.
Can I qualify pricing for certain services?
Yes. The Funeral Pricing Code does not require fixed pricing for each service. You can display your prices in several ways, for example, you can offer the viewing of the body at a flat rate within a certain timeframe or on a per hour basis with excess fees for viewing outside of business hours.
Do I have to display fees charged by third parties such as cemeteries and crematoriums?
Only for any charges included in a basic package.
No. You are only required to display your own fees and charges for goods and service supplied.
It is optional for you to display fees and charges levied by third parties.
What am I required to provide to the consumer before entering into an agreement?
Before entering into agreement with a consumer you must provide the following:
- price of each of the particular goods and services to be supplied to them under the agreement;
- costs of any disbursements payable by them under the agreement; and
- total amount payable for the funeral under the agreement.
Am I required to provide an itemised price for each coffin type I offer?
You must provide the price of each type of coffin, casket or shroud supplied, or the price range for all coffins, caskets or shrouds you offer. For example, you could provide pricing information on the three top selling coffins and must then also provide a total price range for all coffins supplied.
What is meant by ‘prominently display’?
Prices must be clearly visible to consumers.
A brochure or sign showing prices may also be displayed on the reception counter of each place of business.
If you have a website, your home page should display:
- the funeral information; or
- a clear notice on how to access price information.
If I do not have a website, do I need to create one to display pricing?
No. If you do not have a website, you do not need to create one. However, you must still display prices at each of your business locations. You must also provide your prices when meeting with potential consumers offsite (such as at a consumer’s home). If you create a website in the future, you will need to display pricing.
What format can I use to provide funeral information?
You can provide consumers with their pricing information digitally via email or by directing them to your website.
If the consumer does not have access to the internet you may need to supply a hard copy of the funeral information via post or in-person.
How am I required to display transport costs?
You can break down and display prices for transportation based on your business model e.g. a flat rate for set amount of kilometres (for example 70 kilometres) or alternatively set a fee per kilometre.
You are required to provide the total transport amount payable prior to entering into an agreement.
What non-pricing related information must be disclosed?
You must disclose the location of the mortuary or crematorium you use. If you do not own the facility, you must include the name of the owner or manager.
You must display details about how a body is to be transported prior to burial or cremation.
Do I have to wait after providing general pricing information before providing a prospective consumer with a quote?
No. If the consumer requests the information prior to obtaining a formal quotation, then this must be provided within two business days or within another period agreed between the you and the consumer.
There is no ‘waiting’ period once you have provided the consumer with the prescribed information. They can be provided with a quote and enter into an agreement at any time after the information is provided.
If I do not offer a full funeral service or have a place of business, does the Funeral Pricing Code still apply?
Yes. A funeral director is someone who provides funeral goods and services in connection to providing a funeral. This includes organising funeral and death notices, and mortuaries facilities and/or services; supplying coffins, caskets or urns, memorials, transportation of deceased body and guests; granting a right of burial; carrying out a funeral service; and arranging the collection, transport, storage, preparation or embalming of bodies for the purposes of the burial or cremation of bodies.
Can I seek an exemption from the application of the Funeral Pricing Code?
No. The Funeral Pricing Code applies equally to all funeral directors operating in WA.
Do I need to provide a price for professional service fees?
The Funeral Pricing Code does not make it a requirement for you to display a professional service fee, but you may choose to display the fee on their website or place of business.
Before entering into an agreement, it is a requirement for you to disclose the price of all goods and services to be supplied, including the professional service fee (if applicable).
What are the consequences of non-compliance with the Funeral Pricing Code?
If a funeral director has been found in breach of the Funeral Pricing Code, the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) may make either or both of the following orders, under section 47 of the Fair Trading Act 2010 (WA), to:
- cease contravening the Funeral Pricing Code; or
- rectify any consequence of the contravention.
Failure to comply with a SAT order may result in a maximum fine of $50,000.
Pre-paid funeral code provides some security to consumers investing in a pre-paid funeral contract. The code applies to pre-paid funeral contracts since 1 March 2021.
How are the pre-paid funeral funds managed?
Any funds paid must be managed within secure investments under the name of the client, until they are required. Funeral directors must give consumers clear information, developed by the investment manager, about where any pre-paid funeral funds will be invested. Funds can only released after the recipient’s funeral has been carried out, as per the pre-paid funeral contract.
What do I have to do to manage a pre-paid funeral?
Funeral directors must:
- maintain a register of pre-paid funeral contracts sold
- set up a secure investment under the client’s name
- forward all contract payments (excluding any fees, charges or GST) to the investment manager within 16 days of receipt
- itemise the cost of each component provided under a pre-paid funeral contract as well as the total cost, including GST
- provide details of any fees or charges in the contract
- provide a mandatory cooling-off period of 30 days
- set out in the contract what happens to payments if
- funeral director closes, is bankrupt or insolvent
- payments are missed or late (e.g. where instalments apply)
- the recipient moves (e.g. relocates interstate)
- the client ends the contract other than under a right in the contract
- the recipient dies before a contractual payment is made.
What are investment managers?
Investment managers are restricted to:
- a company registered under the Life Insurance Act 1995 (Commonwealth) section 21; or
- a friendly society as defined in the Life Insurance Act 1995 (Commonwealth) section 16C; or
- a licensed trustee company as defined in the Corporations Act 2001 (Commonwealth) section 601RAA ; or
- the Public Trustee as defined in the Public Trustee Act 1941 section 2.
If you have further queries in regards to the Funeral regulation, contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or by email
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