SAIF meets CMA to discuss their Interim Report

December 20, 2018   //   No Comments

This week a delegation from SAIF met with the senior officers who conducted the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) Interim Report on the at-need funeral sector, specifically of concern to SAIF is their review of funeral directors’ pricing, online transparency and consumer protection.

This review needs to be taken with all seriousness by all SAIF member firms.

We agreed on a number of points:

  • the consumer is at the centre of the funeral
  • full view of pricing whether online or printed is essential
  • that standardisation of funeral costs and services is necessary to demystify the distress purchase 

We challenged them on a number of other points from the economic model of the report:

  • the quality of service needs to be incorporated
  • draconian measures will only damage the customer choice and the high levels of consumer satisfaction.

We have established a SAIF Government Regulatory Taskgroup to focus on the CMA and HM Treasury reviews (with specific input from SAIF Scotland, given their legislative changes) supporting the SAIF National Executive Committee and ensuring an agile, professional and comprehensive response and engagement with these government departments.

The SAIF PR Committee has been engaged where appropriate across various national and local media.  A pro-active strategy is at hand for 2019 and you will learn more about this in early 2019

How your individual firm’s response to the CMA is vital

We encourage member firms to write into the CMA and send in their response via email no later than 5pm Friday 11th January 2019.  The CMA are keen to hear from member firms.

Here is a link to the CMA Interim Report.

Suggested areas
for your remarks to the CMA can include:

1. Customer care: how your funeral arrangers ensure the client is fully aware of price options as well as bespoke wishes.

2. How your firm has arrived at its pricing levels over the past 10 years?

3. Online price transparency – this is important to the CMA

4. Quality of services/premises/staff/vehicles – although you will see their report disassociates pricing with quality of service.

5. Transparency of pricing – the breakdown of professional services and making it user-understandable.

6. Transparency of ownership

7. Remedies – your views on what kind of regulation for the funeral services sector.

SAIF Business Centre

Do email us with your comments that you wish to be represented in the formal SAIF response to the CMA by close of business Monday 7th January 2019.

And we shall be
seeking further engagement with your firm and the CMA in the first quarter of
2019, so that the independent funeral sector is fully understood by the CMA.

Future CMA Timelines

The next steps once responses are made by 11th January, the CMA will consult a panel on whether it goes to a full Market Investigation Review (MIR). 

A decision will be made by 31st May 2019 and if an MIR is given the green light a final report needs to be concluded no later than 29 November 2020.