Funeral prices to be investigated

Posted: 14/06/2018

At the beginning of June, the Competiton and Markets Authority (CMA) revealed that the cost of funerals is going to be investigated to ensure that people taking out funeral plans are not being ripped off, and those that are more vulnerable are not being pressurised into buying a plan, or having to look towards taking out online payday loans or other forms of high cost short term loans. The CMA has also stated it is worried that those with the lowest incomes are being the most affected, potentially having to spend nearly a third of their salary on covering the cost of a funeral. As a result, the CMA wants to make sure that there is greater transparency when it comes to the prices and services when it comes to the cost of funerals.

The problem of above-inflation fees

A number of consumer groups have raised concerns that whilst people may be taking out plans in advance with the intention that the costs of the funeral are covered, meaning that loved ones will not have to worry about paying the bill, some funeral companies in their plans do not actually cover the entirety of a funeral, resulting in family members still having to pay an extortionate amount if their loved one dies. In some cases, this could be as much as an additional £2,000. As a result, one of the things the watchdog will be looking at is how competition really works in the funeral sector after above-inflation increases when it comes to fees. The CMA will be particularly focusing upon cremation fees, which have become more popular in the last ten years.

The growing cost of funerals

The funeral sector has been growing exponentially in the last few years, with a staggering 200,000 pre-paid funeral plans taken out in 2017 alone, with the industry now worth around £2 billion each year.

funeral-prices-investigations

There are a number of different costs that aren’t always factored into funeral plans, and are not clearly stated.

At the same time, the price of an average funeral has become more expensive in the last decade. Now, a funeral in the UK will cost around £3,800. Let’s break down the costs of burials and cremations and how it comes to this amount:

Burials

Funeral firm’s fee: £2,254

Burial fee: £1,847

Minister’s fee: £156

Cremations

Funeral firm’s fee: £2,254

Cremation fee: £755

Doctor’s fee: £164

Minister’s fee: £156

The problem is, many funeral plans do not necessarily include things such as a funeral service, memorial stones, limousines, embalming or burial plots, which can be very expensive, though the exact amounts differ depending upon where you live in the country. For example:

  • Embalming can cost between £136 to £165
  • Limousine and chauffeur services can cost: £305
  • Funeral director’s professional fees range from £1,000 to £1,500
  • Catering can be up to nearly £400