Old habits ‘fuelling funeral overspending’

Traditional funeral providers continue to benefit from consumers being stuck in their ways as only four percent of mourners consider looking online for relevant information and pricing, analysis from Beyond has suggested.

The data from the funeral services comparison website highlighted some of the issues the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will face if trying to instigate change within the industry following its investigation.

The company’s analysis revealed that 450,000 Brits have found funerals more expensive than expected within the last two years and following on from Beyond’s calculations which suggested customers were being overcharged by almost £600m a year.

Some 90 percent of those who said they did research online for information and pricing reported to have easily found everything they needed.

This new analysis – which incorporates the CMA’s own market research – showed that 548,575 Brits spent at least £4,000 on a funeral in the last two years. Beyond claimed the trade was profiting from clients favouring an analogue approach to funerals.

The CMA announced its investigation into the funeral industry in June and will release its report before the end of the November.

James Dunn, co-founder of Beyond, said: “The funeral sector has been stale for far too long and a lot of people have greatly benefited from that being the case, so the CMA’s investigation is a potential watershed moment for the industry. Not only are many people paying far more for funerals than they should be but there is far too little transparency across the board, especially from the larger providers, adding to an overall lack of awareness from consumers.

“We’re creatures of habit, and we also don’t like talking about death. Those two things are combining to maintain the status quo, as we all keep going to the same sombre men in dark coats and hats and don’t even consider what our alternatives might be, or what they should cost. The CMA report is a great opportunity for the country as a whole to wake up to how much can change and it has already enabled us to start this conversation – we look forward to seeing how it develops very soon.”

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