Buyer beware remains the message when a loved one dies

After so many instances of people needing a funeral, who leave it to the last minute to make arrangements, is it any wonder that the industry takes advantage of their vulnerability.  Of course funeral providers deny any suggestion that they overcharge, but it makes you wonder, as this story by Michael Atkin: ‘Charging like wounded bulls’: Calls for greater transparency in the funeral industry to protect vulnerable customers (ABC tv 7.30 Report, 6.06.19).

The main points included:

  • Calls for national standards for the funeral industry
  • Funeral costs vary widely between states and service provider
  • Main complaint about the funeral industry are overcharging and bad service.

There are some good people working to disclose more of what goes on.  Once of them is Colin Wong who …  ‘runs a website called Gathered Here, which compares the cost of funeral services,’ says Micheal Atkins.

He has obtained the prices from 825 funeral homes across Australia, which he collected by cold-calling companies because not all of the information was transparently provided online.

He said the professional service fee was often significantly more with a premium funeral director.

“The reality is that this is where the larger funeral homes and the more expensive funeral homes will add in extra amounts for things like their brand name premium, their offices in marketing, and where they can generate and add more profits to the bottom line,” he told 7.30.

Mr Wong is also the author of a new report called Funeral Prices in Australia, which he has provided exclusively to 7.30.

The program could be watched via iView.  Or for what is close to a transcript click on the link: Greater transparency needed for funeral industry


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