QSA launches funeral poverty campaign

'QSA’s own research suggests eight in ten bereaved people don’t make decisions in the same way as normal.'

Friends are being asked to take photos of the front of funeral directors’ premises, if clear funeral costs are not displayed.

The campaign, launched by Quaker Social Action (QSA), will urge funeral directors to display standardised price lists, as required by law. The photos, uploadable via the QSA website, will then be forwarded to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), so it can take action.

The move comes as figures show that many funeral providers are still failing to adhere to price transparency regulations. These were brought in by CMA in September 2021. The new requirements came partly in response to QSA’s Fair Funerals pledge in 2015 and 2020, which highlighted the crippling costs of funerals for many people. QSA asked funeral directors to publish all their prices on their websites, and in branches, including third-party costs, and payment terms.

Lindesay Mace, who leads QSA’s funeral poverty work, told the Friend that QSA has reported nearly 350 funeral directors for failing to comply with the transparency requirements. Almost a third of these instances have been identified this year. But, she said, ‘we need the public’s help to make a real difference’.

‘Bereaved people are faced with so many difficult choices, and are often vulnerable while making them. QSA’s own research suggests eight in ten bereaved people don’t make decisions in the same way as normal. This can include choosing certain products or services because they feel pressure to “do right” by the person who has died. If funeral costs are not clear from the outset, this can leave people struggling with a bill they cannot afford. While the government has refused to regulate the funeral industry, the CMA did bring in some regulation in September 2021 targeting price transparency. Disgracefully, not everyone in the industry seems to be taking this seriously. It was welcome news that the CMA moved to enforcement action in January and we hope to see this new stance having an impact soon.’

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