Fairer Finance’s report, ‘Towards Regulation of the Prepaid Funeral Planning Industry’, examined the practices of providers in the sector, and found that some were using high commissions, aggressive sales tactics and a lack of transparency to confuse customers, especially the elderly and vulnerable.
There is no statutory regulation for the funeral planning market and instead it is regulated by The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) a voluntary organisation set up by the industry. Not all plan providers are registered providers of this body.
Terry Tennens, chief executive of the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF), said: “It is awful to see unscrupulous companies taking advantage of vulnerable people who are planning ahead for their end of life arrangements.
“Whilst there are many reputable providers offering quality funeral planning services, unfortunately, as with any industry, there are also unregulated organisations which present misleading claims. This can leave families facing a financial shortfall and having to cover the cost of a loved ones’ funeral themselves.
“We fully welcome stronger regulation of the funeral planning industry to provide additional protection for consumers and we believe the Funeral Planning Authority is the appropriate body to oversee this.”
Simon Cox , Dignity’s head of insight and external communications, added: “We were pleased to partner once more with Fairer Finance and thank them for all their hard work compiling this report. It is important to have an influential independent voice calling for stronger regulation of the funeral plan market and together with Fairer Finance and many industry players we have a strong and compelling case.
“Dignity reiterates its call on HM Treasury to launch further policy action to strengthen the market, and to consult on how regulation can most effectively improve outcomes for consumers.”