Funeral industry challenged to make prices open and transparent | Cruse Bereavement Care

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The Fair Funerals campaign has challenged funeral directors to make their prices more accessible, calling on funeral homes to make prices available online.

Their enhanced ‘Fair Funerals pledge’ responds to the fact that most funeral directors do not put their prices on their websites. Research found that of 300 funeral director branches from across the UK, 93% did not have any prices online. This lack of visibility makes it difficult for people without much money to shop around and find a funeral within their budget. 

Funeral costs are rising; research from Royal London reveals the cost of an average basic funeral in the UK has increased from £3,562 to £3,702 in the last year. There are differences between what funeral directors charge for their services, but without being able to check prices before speaking to a funeral director, many people don’t realise this and can end up spending more than they can afford.

Industry trade association the National Association of Funeral Directors acknowledges that, although it requires its members to provide clear and transparent price lists for families to take away, only 22% of its members currently publish these online and so it is actively encouraging more members to do so. Fair Funerals also announced that Co-op Funeralcare, the largest funeral director in the market, is signing the Fair Funerals pledge and putting prices on its website for the first time. The enhanced Fair Funerals pledge is a step up from the existing pledge and asks that funeral directors help people to find funerals within their budget by displaying the full price of affordable options online, including third party costs. The first version of the pledge was launched in June 2015 and attracted 560 signatories around 15% of the funeral industry. Co-op Funeralcare’s decision to sign the pledge now brings the total number of signatories to 1,560, just over a third of the industry.

Debbie Kerslake, Chief Executive, Cruse Bereavement Care said: “Bereavement is one of the most difficult experiences anyone will ever face. At such a time it is vital that as much as possible is done to support those that are grieving; this includes providing clear information for those arranging the funeral. In the recent YouGov research undertaken with the NAFD 85% of bereaved people said they wanted prices to be available on line. With such a strong message Cruse welcomes the enhanced Fair Funeral Pledge and news that Co-Op Funeralcare, the largest provider in the market, has said they will put prices on their website for the first time. We call on all funeral directors to follow this lead and take this important step for bereaved people.”

Heather Kennedy, Fair Funerals Campaign Manager said: “When we’re grieving, talking about money is often the last thing we want to do, and calling around different funeral directors to compare costs can seem really daunting. So it’s absolutely essential that funeral directors put prices on their websites. Unfortunately most funeral directors don’t do this. We’re delighted Co-op Funeralcare, as the UK’s biggest provider of funerals, has signed up to our enhanced pledge and put prices on its websites. Shopping around funeral directors is really important, especially for people worried about money, because there’s such big differences in what they charge.

"Today’s announcement will make it easier for people to shop around and find a funeral they can afford. Even though most funeral directors don’t put their prices online, this is starting to change. A lot of companies are recognising the value to grieving people of online price transparency and are getting ahead of the curve. If people notice their local funeral director doesn’t have prices on their website, we encourage people to ask them why.”