The funeral industry in Queensland will have its pricing transparency examined by the government, attorney general Shannon Fentiman announced on Thursday.
In a statement, Fentiman said that it was commonplace for businesses to offer packages of goods and services to grieving families planning a funeral, without making it clear what was essential or optional.
“Organising a funeral is an extremely emotional process, sometimes with added time pressures if the death of a loved one was unexpected.”
“The absence of easily accessible pricing information can make it difficult for consumers to make the best choice for their needs,” Fentiman said.
These factors, added to the possibility that customers may be in a vulnerable state or making decisions guided by cultural expectations, and under time constraints, called for a long overdue examination of the industry, the minister said.
The state government has developed an options paper with potential approaches to help address these issues. Consultation about next steps will close on 7 October, 2021.
Victoria Thomson, a commissioner with Office of Fair Trading (which reviews complaints about the funeral industry) said that up-front price transparency would be a simple way for customers to compare ‘like-with-like’ services.
“The ability for people to access and compare costs will make it easier for grieving families to consider their options,” Thomson said.
“I urge people from all parts of the industry—from funeral providers to consumers and advocacy groups—to read the options paper and have their say on the way forward.”