Expert legal advice from the competition lawyers

Final report published by CMA on funerals competition investigation

First published by Author on October 06, 2021 in the following categories: Advertising Care Homes Consumer Law Covid-19 Industry Investigations Latest and tagged with | | | | |

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The CMA has finally published their concluding report on the funerals competition investigation which has been ongoing for several years, after it began in June 2018. Revealed to the public in mid-December, the report set out a series of suggested “sunlight remedies” to be applied in the funerals market sector.

These remedies are designed to empower consumers further when it comes to selecting funeral services, and to ensure that the sector remains under scrutiny following the investigation. The Remedies Implementation timetable was also published as of 8th January 2021, which set a deadline for implementing remedial action by 17th June 2021.

While there has been no action taken or fines issued as a result of this investigation so far, the CMA’s concerns for the funeral industry remain significant. As believers in fair competition, it is important that regulators work hard to make sure that business practices are fair for companies and customers. We believe that the thorough investigation has demonstrated strong support for the rights of the consumer in this industry.

The case so far

The funerals competition investigation was first launched by the CMA to review the choices on offer to consumers, in order to establish whether they were being allowed to make informed choices about their purchases. The high costs and debt that can be incurred by funerals made the investigation all the more necessary, and cremations were understood to be a particular focus in terms of concerns as these were found to constitute 75% of all funerals.

The first phase of the investigation ended in March 2019, at which point the second phase was launched. Over the course of the investigation, many companies have been interviewed and reviewed, including industry leader, Co-op Funeralcare.

The measures proposed by the funerals competition investigation

According to the CMA, the funerals competition investigation suggested that:

  • Prices should be disclosed clearly to ensure customers can make better and “more informed” decisions.
  • Information should be given prior to customers making a commitment to engage services so they are fully aware of all the necessary prices and terms.
  • Company’s financial interests should be disclosed to customers, and any payments that incentivise hospitals or care homes engaged in referrals for customers for certain funeral directors are to be banned.
  • The government should begin regulating funeral services further by establishing “an independent inspection and regulation scheme” which monitors funeral companies.

However, the CMA did delay a potential recommendation to control prices due to the unusual circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the regulator is considering the possibility of further investigation when the circumstances are more normal again.

Claiming with The Competition Lawyers

Following the funerals competition investigation, we urge all consumers to remain vigilant when considering making a purchase of goods or services from a funeral director or crematorium. Making funeral arrangements is always distressing, so it is important that you know your rights to full disclosure of terms and prices to ensure that a company cannot take advantage of you during this difficult time.

However, if you believe you have been misled or misinformed about prices, your consumer rights may entitle you to claim compensation. At The Competition Lawyers, we can review your case and establish whether competition law has been breached, giving you free, no-obligation advice on your potential claim.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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