IPART has made draft recommendations to help people make choices about organising funerals in NSW.
We want people to be able to make informed choices about the kind of funeral they want at a price they can afford.
There is no doubt that organising a funeral is unlike most consumer decisions. People organise funerals infrequently, within a short timeframe, during what can be a stressful and emotional time. Because death is a sensitive topic, people can be reluctant or unwilling to obtain quotes, compare funeral providers or request discounts as they might with other occasional high-value purchases.
Most people are satisfied with the funerals they purchase, and formal complaints are few. However, people told us that the process of organising a funeral can be confusing, and that more information would help. We reviewed funeral provider websites and found that many are not providing all the information they are legally required to display. We also reviewed Government websites with information about organising funerals and found opportunities for information to be presented more clearly and more consistently.
Some people, both consumers and industry stakeholders, called for more regulation of the industry. However, in our view, the current level of regulation – which focuses on providing information – allows for consumers to find the best outcomes for themselves.
We recommend that NSW Fair Trading act to ensure all funeral providers comply with the existing regulation, so that the full benefit for consumers can be realised.
We also recommend complementary improvements to funeral information on Government websites, so that information is comprehensive, consistent and accessible. This includes the development of a consumer guide with a checklist and questions to ask funeral providers to assist consumers to quickly obtain more than one quote. We are seeking feedback on the checklist prepared with the draft report.