Funeral firms slammed for hiking prices at TWICE the rate of inflation, as watchdog launches investigation

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Funeral firms slammed for hiking prices at TWICE the rate of inflation, as watchdog launches investigation



FUNERAL companies have been slammed for increasing prices by 6 per cent every year – TWICE the rate of inflation – for the past 14 years.
The competition watchdog says relatives and friends of someone who has died are often too overcome by grief to research funeral prices leaving them open to being ripped off by heartless firms.
Getty – Contributor The competitions watchdog has opened an investigation into the rising price of funerals
And it’s not just funeral firms, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says cremation services have also hiked prices on average by between 6 per cent and 8 per cent for the past eight years.
Part of the problem is that firms aren’t publishing their prices online or otherwise making it hard for people to compare services.
Local authority red tape also makes it difficult for new providers to enter the market, which leaves people in some areas with little choice over the services they can use.
An investigation by The Sun earlier this year uncovered that you could pay £2,400 more for similar funeral services from providers just a few miles apart.
Getty – Contributor Funeral prices have risen by 6 per cent every year for the past 14 years
The CMA has now opened an investigation into the market following an initial report last year.
It says it’s too early to say what action – if any – it might take, with its final report due by September 27, 2020.
Financial provider Royal London warns that high cost funerals are pushing families into debt.
Its research found that the average cost of a funeral in 2018 was £3,757.
Louise Eaton-Terry, the firm’s funeral cost expert, said: “High funeral costs have forced thousands of grieving families into debt so a market investigation into the funeral industry is long overdue and welcome.
“The costs of arranging a funeral are opaque and we have been calling for the industry to make their pricing clear and transparent to ensure those arranging a funeral fully understand the options available.”
A CMA spokesperson added: “Based on the consultations from the funerals market study, we have progressed to a market investigation in order to examine the concerns we have identified more closely.”
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In 2018 the Government promised to pay for children’s funerals “to let families grieve”.
But the most expensive place to die is Watford, according to analysis of funeral costs.
And we’ve spoken to a reader who planned her own funeral and wedding at the same time after being told her ovarian cancer was terminal.
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