Demand for pre-paid funerals grew by almost 200% between 2006 and 2018. With 177,000 pre-paid funeral plans sold in 2018 alone!
Losing a family member or loved one is a painful time and people look-to and even rely on funeral companies to help them through the process. Trust is essential.
Sky News recently published an article suggesting Funeral Companies could be ‘bullying’ vulnerable people into expensive funeral plans.
It’s been suggested that some Funeral Providers have been using ‘miss-leading sales tactics’, resulting in customers paying high funeral costs.
The Founder of My Last Request, Mark Tucker, has met many people over the years who have also sadly experienced a certain ‘pressure’ from funeral planners. At such an emotional and vulnerable time, it is saddening to think there are those out there who would look to take advantage of this. Often loved ones were unsure of what the deceased may have wanted and are keen to do as much as possible to demonstrate their love through the funeral ceremony. This is where they have been vulnerable to high-costs, with regards to floral arrangements, coffins and other factors.
Government regulation of the funeral industry was last updated in 2001.
The Financial Conduct Authority are thought to be looking to step-in and regulate the Funeral Planning industry, so that high-pressure tactics will be outlawed; John Glen, the city minister has announced.
This would give customers the same protections as those buying insurance.
John Glen said, “It’s shameful that there are those out there who look to prey on people when they are in this often emotional and vulnerable state…
…That’s why I’ve taken the decision to regulate pre-paid funeral plans, so people can have more confidence in the products they’re being offered and peace of mind that their affairs will be handled correctly.”
It’s be well documented that big funeral firms have increased prices between 6-8% a year, for the last eight years. Some local authorities have also increased costs for burial and cremations, too.
The suggested changes would also see the inclusion and involvement of the Financial Ombudsman Service. Customers would have greater protection around any complaints that may arise about the service they receive.
This announcement has followed on from the competition regulator announcing their own in-depth investigation into funeral directors, amid the complaints that grieving families were being ripped off and ‘bullied’, just months before.
Have you experienced bullying or sales-pressure from a funeral director?
My Last Request blog has various articles which offer advice and help at the difficult time of losing someone.
If you want to ensure your loved ones and family members know exactly what you would like regarding your funeral, why not consider a My Last Request Subscription?
Remove the stress and uncertainty, which may sadly lead to conflict or pressure to ‘offer a good send-off’ (that funeral directors could exploit) by detailing your wishes…
Image source: Competitions & Markets Authority