This time last year the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) confirmed its provisional conclusions about the funeral services sector.
Their final report set out further detail on the remedies, which they saw were needed to support the industry, these being
- an obligation for all funeral directors and crematorium operators to disclose prices in a manner that will help customers make more informed decisions;
- that information must be provided in advance of a customer committing to purchase a service so that people know the price they will be charged and the key terms of business – for example if a deposit is required;
- that customers should be made aware of any relevant business, financial and commercial interests of the funeral director, and that certain practices – such as payments which may incentivise hospitals, care homes or hospices to refer customers to a particular funeral director – will be prohibited;
- a recommendation to government to establish an independent inspection and registration regime to monitor the quality of funeral director services as a first step in the establishment of a broader regulatory regime for funeral services.
Following on from that funeral plan providers came under scrutiny and proposals were put forward to regulate the industry and after months of discussions it has been agreed that the funeral plan industry will be regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) from the end of July next year.
The new rules being introduced will ensure high standards in the funeral plans market and require firms to ensure that their plans are sold fairly, perform as expected and provide value for money.
These rules mean:
- funeral instalment plan products will always deliver a funeral (after a moratorium period) as the FCA will be banning those that don’t guarantee this
- cold calling will be banned and new standards on advertising will be implemented to ensure plans are sold fairly
- commission payments to intermediaries will be banned to ensure products represent fair value
- those selling funeral plans are subject to full checks on their fitness to operate to improve governance standards and oversight
Golden Leaves, the company whose plans we provide and having been doing so for the past 15 years, have been instrumental in getting regulation for the industry in order to weed out those less reputable companies and to put an end to cold calling and pressurised selling of funeral plans.
Whilst I firmly believe in funeral plans and have one myself, they are not for everyone. For that reason, I have produced a short and free report on the pros and cons of funeral plans If you want the report you can download it here no questions asked,. I will not even be asking you for your name or email address!
If you are unsure as to whether a funeral plan is right for you, download a report on the pros and cons here
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