Pickard & Beale Funeral Directors, located in Maidstone, is a branch of the large corporation, Dignity PLC. In the CMA (Competitions and Market Authority) report into the funeral industry (link below), they had the following to say: On Dignity excessively charging vulnerable customers "Based on the range of evidence that we have reviewed, there are large price differences between different operators. In particular, Dignity appears to be consistently the most expensive funeral director." "The large price differentials are often driven by Dignity’s high price. Dignity offered the most expensive funeral in each of the 43 areas with the largest price differentials and in 87% of the 217 areas in which it was present." "It seems clear that the vulnerability of customers has been a major factor in enabling suppliers to charge high prices in the sector for the past 15 years, rather than underlying cost pressures, and it appears to us that Dignity’s pricing policies have acted as the engine of these price rises." On Dignity’s failure to publish a breakdown of their pricing online "Dignity publish the price of their simple funeral options online, but very little pricing information on either their standard funeral packages or the prices of individual components of a funeral." On the quality of Dignity funerals "Dignity, in particular, has sought to justify its past large price rises on the basis of quality improvements. However, this is not supported by the evidence: a) Internal documents of Dignity, show that quality improvements ... have not been commensurate with the price increases." On Dignity trading under family names "Dignity’s business model for its funeral director services business has involved acquiring trading funeral director businesses, retaining the brand and introducing a new pricing strategy." "Based on the evidence we have seen, it appears to us that Dignity routinely implements significant price rises at acquired funeral directors while retaining the local brands."
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