Why funeral directors need to be transparent on costs
Historically, the funeral sector has been very difficult to compare prices like for like and not all funeral directors have been open and transparent with their prices.
Insurance or utilities? You would most likely compare between providers for their costs. Weddings and parties? If you are anything like us you'll have a spreadsheet of costs to track your budget! A new house, car or furniture? We can guarantee that you will have shopped around to find the best deal for you. What do all of these things have in common? They have all been researched and planned, so why shouldn't a funeral be the same?
The Competition and Markets Authority report
Following the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into the funeral market, a number of concerns were highlighted in their report. In particular, they advised that funeral directors needed to be transparent with their costs for similar services, to allow families to easily compare and therefore choose the right company and service for them. That meant that from 16 September 2021, all funeral directors were required by law to display a Standardised Price List on their websites. Ours can be found here.
Let's look at some of the reasons why it isn't always easy to compare costs in the funeral sector.
Lack of transparency
Unfortunately, there are some providers in the funeral sector that don't see it in their interests to be transparent and upfront with their costs. A lot of people are unaware of all the possible options in organising a funeral and so therefore don't ask.
Tom Owen and Son have published their funeral prices online since July 2020, when our website was created. It is our belief that clients should know upfront a rough idea of the cost of their funeral, and be able to make an informed choice before committing to a funeral director.
Up-selling of products and services
Most people will only have to organise 2-3 funerals in their lifetime, some many years apart. For some people, the first funeral they have to organise can feel completely alien and unsure where to start. Tom Owen and Son are keen to ensure that all clients know all possible options upfront so clients can be empowered to make a choice that is right for them.
Some clients may perhaps feel pressured into agreeing to a more expensive coffin or choosing a limousine when they don't need one, as these are seen as the 'right thing to do'. Some funeral directors may persuade you to not do certain things yourself, however with having fully transparent costs and information, clients can make an informed choice.
Lets talk about death
Death has long been a taboo subject. A lot of people avoid it for fear of something happening to them, embarrassment or upset. Here at Tom Owen and Son, we believe that the more people talk about death and normalise the subject, the more open they can be about the process. A lot of people feel awkward talking about money generally, so that coupled with talking about a funeral isn't a great combination.
If a funeral director isn't upfront and transparent with their costs, a client may feel unsure to ask. This can lead to families opting for services and products that they don't necessarily need for fear of asking the cost. How refreshing would it be to know the cost of the services and products upfront, so you can make an informed choice about whether you are getting the best deal or not?
The future of the funeral sector
Tom Owen and Son welcome the CMA regulation and that this level of transparency will now be law. We hope that funeral directors being upfront about prices and really listening to what people want will improve the sector greatly.
Tom Owen and Son don't offer fixed price packages, instead we have a bespoke option where you choose the services and products that you require. We do have a simple funeral option and a non-attended funeral service for those that cost may be a consideration.
We aren't sales people. There is no hard sell here. If however you would like an informal conversation with us, about what we offer and how we can help we'd be happy to speak to you.