A marked improvement: corporate price gouging tamed by CMA Order

09/02/2024   //   No Comments

SAIF is pleased to see that the large corporates and chains, whose above-inflation price rises sparked an official probe into the funeral sector, are finally attempting to get their fees under control.

This is, of course, thanks to the imposition of strict regulation and not due to boardrooms suddenly discovering a moral compass.

Today’s (09.02.24) annual review of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s Funerals Market Investigation Order 2021 is essentially a report card for the very businesses that brought shame on the profession in the run-up to the pandemic.

However, it should be noted that not all funeral charges are coming down. The CMA report has also revealed that the price of unattended funerals by larger firms is increasing above the rate of inflation.

In truth, what is happening in the direct cremation market is a long-overdue adjustment following a race-to-the-bottom price war between online and corporate providers. This was a completely unsustainable situation and costs were always going to rebound.

But this does mean that consumers opting for a direct cremation solely on price grounds will now need to tread with caution. Bereaved people with limited finances should be aware that a simple attended funeral might be within their budget. From now on, no fuss could also mean no bargain.

Additionally, SAIF notes that the overwhelming majority of funeral businesses are complying with the CMA Order. We will continue our work with officials to help small businesses understand these complex rules. It’s our belief that most instances of non-compliance are down to misunderstandings rather than a refusal to obey the law.  

To sum up, we hope that the improved behaviour by the large corporate companies will stave off calls for a second investigation into the sector, which could result in disproportionate regulations. This would damage those small independent firms which have always kept their prices under control to ensure best value for bereaved people.

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