Isn't the cost of funerals regulated?

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a review of the funeral industry in 2018. There were concerns relating to the affordability of funerals and in particular: 

  • The level of competition between funeral directors and how that drove difference in prices;
  • Whether funeral directors made it easy for people to compare prices and make informed choices; and 
  • The degree of competition between crematoria. 

The CMA completed what it terms a ‘Market Investigation Reference’, or an extended investigation, that collated qualitative and quantitative data and called for responses to multiple consultation exercises. 

The Market Investigation Reference led to the issuing of the Funeral Market Investigation Order 2021, which sets out legal obligations on how funeral directors and crematoria advise customers of their prices.

The Funeral Market Investigation Order requires all funeral directors to display and provide specific information to make it easier for customers to:

  • see the prices charged by funeral directors
  • be aware of the total cost of the services they may require
  • compare providers so they can get the best funeral for their needs and budget

It also requires all funeral directors to highlight their terms of business and information which may indicate that there are any potential conflicts of interest.

Further information is available on how the Market Investigation Order works.

The law also requires crematoria to display their prices on their premises and on their website, and to make the prices available to local funeral directors, and any other funeral director on request.

Further reading:

Parsons, B. (2018) The Evolution of the British Funeral Directing Industry in the 20th Century, Bingley: Emerald.

Rugg, J. and Parsons, B. (2018) Funerary Practice in England and Wales, Bingley: Emerald Publishing.