Regional NSW funeral directors thumb their noses at new regulations

Article published 9 December 2020

Regional NSW funeral directors thumb their noses at new regulations

CONSUMER protection against over-priced funerals in NSW is what is called pricing transparency. If you need to organise a funeral or want to buy a pre-paid funeral, you can get three quotes, so the regulator’s thinking goes. Competition between funeral providers will keep prices at reasonable levels.

But this ignores the fact that you generally look for a funeral provider who is local, so that even in metropolitan areas there may be few to choose from. Funeral directors can keep fees and charges high by simply keeping tabs on their two or three local competitors.

Recently, the NSW regulator introduced new rules about what pricing information funeral directors must publish online and display in their office. The requirement is for extensive pricing information as well as the price of the cheapest funeral package they offer.

These rules came into effect early this year, but compliance appears to be patchy, with the large funeral chains being fully compliant while stand-alone funeral directors in regional areas, for example, generally are not complying.

CPSA surveyed the pricing information of fifteen funeral directors in five regional NSW towns.

Only four out of fifteen funeral directors obeyed the new rules.

More than half were completely non-compliant, with Godfrey Smith Funerals Bathurst defiantly so, explicitly stating it is not publishing pricing information at all.

Citizens of the NSW towns of Bathurst and Dubbo won’t be able to find published funeral pricing information at all, while Broken Hill, Griffith and Wagga Wagga funeral directors were overwhelmingly non-compliant, making it impossible to compare their prices.

All seven funeral directors who published pricing information (limited or complete) advertised direct cremation as their lowest-priced package, rather than a package including at least a remembrance service. This is not in the spirit of the new rules.

Direct cremation is a funeral without a service and no attendance at the crematorium.

Even though making funeral directors publish their pricing information on their website is an improvement (if they actually comply), it does not make for easy comparison. This could be fixed by the regulator developing and maintaining a comparison website such as www.gatheredhere.com.au and by making participation by funeral directors mandatory.

CPSA has reported the findings of its survey to the NSW regulator for action.

 

Broken Hill                       Pricing information

Fred J Potter                         No info: non-compliant

Curtis Family                        Limited info: non-compliant

Shaun Hamilton                   Limited info: non-compliant

J P Walsh                               No info: non-compliant

Burke & Douglas                  Complete info: compliant

 

Griffith

Griffith Regional                  Limited info: non-complaint

Griffith & District                 No info: non-compliant

Collier Trennery                   No info: non-compliant

 

Wagga Wagga

Daniel Woods                        No info: non-compliant

Alan Harris McDonald        No info: non-compliant

John Bance & Son                Complete info: compliant

 

Dubbo

Abbey Funeral Home           No info: non-compliant

Larcombe & Bean                 Complete info: compliant

Shakespeare                          Complete info: compliant

 

Bathurst

Renshaw’s                              No info: non-compliant

Godfrey Smith                       No info: non-compliant

 

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