In the UK, it’s a sad yet well-known fact that the funeral industry is unregulated: funeral director facilities vary hugely, as do the quality of services offered, and their costs. But what does this mean in practical terms for grieving families?
Put simply, a lack of regulation results in a lack of transparency over funeral costs, making it hard to compare prices; high-pressure selling, which places financial strain on grieving families; concerns over pre-paid funeral plans that do not always cover the full cost of a funeral, and a disparity in cost between funeral directors for the same service.
But we believe this can change. At Legacy of Lives, we want to make funeral costs as transparent as possible, removing financial worry and empowering people to choose the right funeral service for their budget and exact wishes.
On this page, you can see more about the funeral industry’s lack of regulation - and the changes we’re making alongside the UK government.
What do we mean by the funeral industry’s lack of regulation?There are many ways the UK funeral industry is unregulated, such as:
Disparity in care between funeral homes
A 2018 report found that some funeral companies in the UK failed to take proper care of bodies, with lack of refrigeration and inadequate storage. The report highlighted a huge disparity in the level of care and services provided between funeral directors, making it hard for families to select between them and often opting for the first funeral director they call or visit.
Consumer protection concerns over pre-paid plans
Pre-paid funeral plans’ limitations are rarely made clear to the consumer. These plans often do not cover the whole cost of the funeral - meaning friends or family often need to contribute, which can cause unnecessary financial anxiety. Customers’ money is often locked into these plans and there are often high cancellation fees.
Reluctance of firms to disclose costs
One of the major issues with the funeral industry’s lack of regulation is that it results in a huge lack of transparency for grieving families on funeral costs. Funeral directors are often reluctant to publish their costs online, making it enormously difficult to compare funeral packages. These conversations are also often very upsetting, so it’s unsurprising that 98% of peoplet opt for the first funeral director they find.
Huge funeral cost disparity
In addition to firms being reluctant to disclose prices online, there is also a huge disparity in costs between funeral directors. This means that often different firms will quote different prices for the same service, making it difficult for vulnerable families to research and choose between them.
High-pressure selling tactics
An exclusive 2019 report in the Guardian found that one funeral director, Prosperous Life, employed aggressive sales tactics to sell pre-paid funeral plans every month to customers regardless of their income. This exposes families to unnecessary costs at an extremely vulnerable time. Legacy of Lives is working to change this: we understand that speaking with a salesperson when grieving is extremely difficult, so with us you can find local trusted funeral directors and quotes at the click of a button – removing high-pressure selling completely.
What is the government doing to regulate the funeral industry?Following concerns about the lack of industry regulation, the government launched an investigation in 2018. It called for regulation of pre-paid funeral plans, which proposed to bring these plans under the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority to regulate the industry.
In March 2019, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an in-depth market investigation into the funerals sector.
Their concerns were, among other issues, rising funeral costs, the vulnerability of those organising a funeral, the reluctance of firms to disclose prices, and the rising price of crematoria services. This report is ongoing at the time of writing.
What are we doing to help at Legacy of Lives?At Legacy of Lives, we’re taking steps to regulate the industry by committing to making all funeral costs on our site 100% transparent. With us, it’s easy to compare packages and budget for your funeral wishes - and our tools are completely free to our users.
Transparency over costs
The funeral directors we work with make all their costs completely transparent up front: there are no hidden surprises, and you’ll receive your quote in less than 48 hours. Whether you’re looking for a cremation, a burial, or a detailed send-off, you can get accurate, clear costs for your funeral plan and wishes, so you can budget accordingly. We can even help with suggesting a payment or savings plan.
It’s easy to compare funeral packages with us: once you’ve created your funeral plan, you can compare costs for your requirements between different funeral directors in the UK, saving you money as well as time on research.
If you are pre-planning your funeral and you have requested a few quotes from our funeral directors, it’s time to save. We offer a range of affordable savings plans to fit your budget, as well as plans that allow for interest and potential winnings with premium bond savings. These are all conservative plans that allow you to release your money at any time.
Create a Legacy of Lives funeral plan for you or a loved one - store everything in one place and receive quotes that are 100% transparent.