Grave concerns over funeral rip offs

NSW Fair Trading - funeral consumer complaints at record highs

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The state government has urged people purchasing funeral packages to make sure they are aware of their rights following a record number of consumer complaints to NSW Fair Trading last year.

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THE state government has urged people purchasing funeral packages to make sure they are aware of their rights following a record number of consumer complaints to NSW Fair Trading last year.

The government department received a record 37 consumer complaints last year and has received a total of 175 complaints since the start of 2013.

Complaints of various natures have been received including complaints about hidden charges and costs, the high cost of services and consumers being taken advantage of while in a vulnerable state.

Better regulation minister Matt Kean said it was important for consumers to make sure they were aware of their rights when shopping for a funeral package.

“Losing a loved one is a heartbreaking and stressful experience. It’s possibly one of the hardest challenges a person can face,” he said.

“It’s appalling that some funeral homes are taking advantage of consumers at their most vulnerable.”

Under the Funeral Information Standard, all operators are required to provide itemised quotes for all goods and services to be provided, before entering into an agreement.

He advised families to consider the following tips when organising a funeral:

  • Ask about a basic funeral package
  • Consider a financial arrangement such as a funeral bond or funeral insurance
  • Pre-purchase the grave site if you intend to be buried
  • Talk to your family and friends during the organising process
  • Seek comparative quotes from other providers with a full breakdown of services

For more information, click here and search Funeral Information Standard.

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