Transparency, Lowballing, and Cost: Funeral Home Pricing

By Dominic V. Cassidy

THE funeral care business in the United Kingdom is fairly unregulated, aside from an opt in group known as the National Association of Funeral Directors, which has its own code of practice, available online for the public.

The cost of dying has risen over 200% over the last few years; with the average cost of the most basic burial climbing from £1,920 in 2004 to £4,078 in 2017. The prices are thought to continue to climb in the years ahead – and people all over are wondering why funerals cost so much. This is down to the fact that there is very little transparency in the pricing of different funeral plans.

In the press today it has been highlighted that a funeral directors franchise Dignity, is under threat of being priced out of the industry, as the Co-Ops branch of funeral care has cut its prices of burials, essentially low balling the competition.

In the last decade, there has been a massive rise in the cost of a funeral – it has increased in price more than housing has – which has many people wondering why a funeral costs that much, and what they’re actually paying for. The price of funerals is averaged out across the whole of the UK, in some places within the country there are places that are cheaper to have people buried, with the cost of a ceremony being directly dependant on where you are geographically located.


While Co-op now offers a slightly cheaper burial than some of their competitors, it is also clear from research easily done that the way these two companies present their funeral plans is hugely different – Co-op presents the pricing and costs in a somewhat understandable way, setting out what can be paid for and the general cost of these items or services presented in a pretty clear set of sections, and the ease of this seems beneficial in the market as it can be a trying time for those who have lost a loved one.

On the other hand, the website for Dignity speaks very little on specific pricing and deals much more heavily in jargonese and is somewhat cold; there seems to be a large disconnect in the business model, to the compassion that one would think should be offered by a funeral directors, evident by the grids and the diagrams on the page.

While there is a valid complaint to be made by the franchise Dignity for the bigger group cutting its prices and make it’s product more enticing for mourners or customers. While the world of death can be hard and dark – the most shocking aspect about it for many people is the cost. The business aspect of dying is deeply troubling.

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