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Major funeral firms found to be charging 65 percent premium

New research has found that major funeral chains are charging a 65 percent chain premium, while independent funeral directors have dropped their prices.

Funeral service comparison website, Beyond, found that over the last two years the major chains have increased costs by £1,000. The research showed that booking with a leading chain over an independent funeral director can set mourners back £1,500. The average cost for a chain funeral was found to be £3,771, compared to a £2,287 average for independents.

Beyond says that funeral services at independent directors have dropped by one percent over the last two years despite the increasing cost of dying which has left the average price of a UK funeral at £4,245, a 33 percent rise on figures from 2016.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced in May that it was looking into price transparency in the UK funeral market, amid growing concerns that consumers are being exploited, while a debate on funeral poverty is set to take place in the House of Commons on 11 September, led by Emma Lewell-Buck MP.

James Dunn, co-founder of Beyond, said: “The most disappointing thing about the ‘chain premium’ is how unsurprising it is. Chains have a stranglehold in many areas across the country and it is not always apparent which funeral directors are independents. This reduces transparency and makes it even harder for consumers to compare costs.

“Most people would like to know if they are using an independent, local firm and, at around £1,500 cheaper on average, could also save a lot of money. It’s well worth asking funeral directors if they are part of a large chain and it’s crucial consumers shop around.”

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