Funeral Directors Remain Unregulated due to Coronavirus Pandemic

With daily deaths from the dreaded coronavirus numbering around five hundred per day, countless families are going through the heartbreak of planning funerals for their loved ones. However, with strict restrictions on funerals in place, to curb the spread of the virus, an already difficult process has been further complicated. In recent years, the government, regulators and financial watchdogs have been keeping a close eye on funeral directors. In 2018, reports emerged that unscrupulous practices were being used by some funeral directors in a push for profits. Basically, grieving families were being exploited, at an already difficult time.

A government investigation concluded this autumn, which had started last year, showed the widespread use of unscrupulous practices. Funeral directors were selling services with ambiguous prices, leaving consumers unable to compare services and shop for a better deal. Furthermore, the investigation also highlighted how the cost of funerals has been rising. In the last decade, funeral prices have risen, beyond the cost of inflation, leaving many families simply unable to afford the cost of funeral. This has given rise to crowd funding appeals, where families have been unable to cover the cost of a loved one’s funeral.

However, despite the findings, the coronavirus pandemic derailed efforts to impose regulations on funeral directors. With daily death figures around the one thousand mark at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, local governments have been unable to engage with funeral directors, who remain under extreme pressure over the tricky winter period. As a result, a price cap set to be placed on funeral costs, which was one of the key suggestions from the investigation, has been delayed for the foreseeable future. This means some unscrupulous funeral directors remain active and that funeral prices will continue to rise as they have over the previous decade.

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