CMA Report Calls for Price Transparency 0

Many of our regular readers will know by now that the CMA’s interim report landed late last week.

It’s clear from the contents that the government have validated what we’ve all been saying on behalf of families and independent funeral directors for the last few years. Specifically that:

  • The large chains have preyed on bereaved families with excessive price hikes in both funeral director and crematorium fees, as well as failing to provide clarity of ownership.
  • The NAFD has failed consumers, specifically that it has ‘fallen short’ and may have been ‘detrimental to competition’. Particularly that it has taken a position on websites like Beyond that’s ‘ambiguous at best’ and that it risks ‘distorting the market’ by its actions.

We’re delighted that hardworking independent funeral directors who publish their pricing online are going to be rewarded by the CMA, while those who deliberately make their prices difficult to discover are taken to task.

We’ll be doing our part, too. We’ll be supporting all the independent funeral directors signed up to our service so that they can be sure they’re meeting any recommendations from the CMA on comparable price transparency, simply by being on our website. We’ve also got a bundle of free services coming for our partners in the New Year.

If you’re not yet signed up with us, but you’d like to join the thousands of funeral directors on our site who are doing their bit towards price transparency in this industry, why not make an account today? We’d love to have you with us.

There are no monthly fees, and our funeral finance, free wills and estate administration services are there to help you offer the families to help complete, well-rounded support. Simply give us a call on 0800 044 9454 and we’ll get you set up in a matter of minutes, or build your free business profile here.

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Bereaved Families to Receive Funeral Expenses Payment Sooner 0

Family holds up piggy bank spilling out coins

Families in need of help with funeral costs will now receive it much sooner. The welcome move comes as a result of a change in the way the Funeral Expenses Payment is handled.

The Funeral Expenses Payment helps bereaved families on certain benefits pay for a funeral with a one-off grant. The average payment is around £1,500.

Previously, families had to have a date set for the funeral in order to apply. Now, they can simply give an approximate date, so long as the other details needed for the claim are all present and correct.

The change is expected to make getting help with funeral costs much swifter and less stressful for the 800 people a week who make a Funeral Expenses Claim.

DWP Minister Will Quince said:

These important changes will make the very difficult time of planning a funeral or cremation that bit easier for bereaved families. Helping families access Funeral Expenses Payments sooner and more quickly means they can focus on the much more important task of arranging a proper send-off for their loved one.

This update follows on from another important update to the Funeral Expenses Payment, which removed the need to submit a final invoice from a funeral director to make a claim. Instead, families can use the initial contract with the funeral director to act as proof of the funeral’s cost. This means that it’s now possible to apply for and receive a grant before the funeral takes place.

Together, the two updates are welcome news for bereaved families in need and for the funeral professionals who support them.

To find out more about the help available for funeral costs, take a look at our guide here.

We’re making Beyond free 1

Beyond mascot

At Beyond, we have been building a consumer brand for after life services since 2015.

Our mission is to overhaul a sector which has been left behind by digital progress, where the consumer has been disenfranchised of any power, choice or equity by market forces, and incumbent players desperate to maintain the status quo.

We believe that showing easily comparable online pricing for funerals is crucial to making the market fair for consumers and we’re proud that in the last 4 years, we’ve helped over 40% of funeral directors do so, (some unwillingly) on our price comparison website (PCW).

But 40% isn’t enough.

Where we can, we give back. Our digital will service was free for over a year, resulting in thousands of low-income users making wills and leaving legacy gifts to charities.

And in that vein, I am pleased to announce that today we are making our PCW entirely free for funeral directors (it has always been free for consumers).

  • All funeral directors can now maintain a profile and pricing on Beyond at no cost.
  • We will not rank any price-transparent funeral director over another. Pari Passu.
  • All website and phone enquiries will go through to the funeral director.
  • Our other services for funeral directors such as online obituaries and financing remain free

By providing this pro bono service, we hope to encourage the remaining 800 Dignity PLC, 1,000 Coop, 200 Funeral Partners and 2,000 independent funeral branches, who don’t currently show easily comparable pricing online, to take that positive step.

We urge them to take control of their profiles, to enter their pricing, edit their own business descriptions, and stand alongside the growing minority who are leading the industry away from obfuscation towards price transparency.

There’s really no legitimate reason not to.

Ian Strang

Beyond (Founder & CEO)