More than a third (33.5%) of members of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) surveyed in a recent members’ poll now have all or some of their prices available on their websites – helping people by giving them an idea of what a funeral costs from the comfort and privacy of their own home.
The survey also revealed that a further third (36.5%) of members are now planning to put pricing information online by 2019, a huge increase over the 19% that were considering the move a year ago, demonstrating a willingness on the part of NAFD member firms to adapt to the changing needs of bereaved people.
All NAFD members, which between them represent more than 4,000 UK funeral homes, are required to publish comprehensive and transparent price lists as part of the Association’s Code of Practice. However, since 2016 the Association has been working to encourage more members to take the further step of publishing these prices online. This aims to help people gain a clear understanding of costs and remove any potential discomfort or embarrassment when they first speak to a funeral director.
NAFD President, Alison Crake, of family firm Crake and Mallon on Teesside, firmly believes that this is a step all funeral firms should take; the NAFD’s 2016 YouGov survey, undertaken with Cruse Bereavement Care, having proven that whilst 80% of Britons who had organised a funeral felt they had received value for money, 85% would like prices to be available online.
Ms Crake’s own firm publishes a complete price list online and she is pleased that so many of her colleagues are making a similar move.
“Today, when it comes to the majority of consumer purchases, people want to be able to do their research online first. Although it can be difficult for newly bereaved people to shop around when they are in what is often described as the ‘fog’ of grief, by putting our prices online funeral directors are helping them to make an informed choice and to feel prepared when they walk through our doors.
“This move is also about encouraging people to plan ahead – something not enough of us do these days. Hopefully a combination of online research and the chance to talk with a professional funeral director will help to make more people feel comfortable in putting some plans in place for the end of their life, or the funeral of someone close to them.”
The huge increase in NAFD members putting their prices online is also partly down to encouragement from organisations such as Quaker Social Action, which is campaigning to help those people for whom any significant expense, such as a funeral, is simply beyond their financial reach.
Heather Kennedy, of Quaker Social Action’s Fair Funerals campaign, welcomed the news. She said: “There’s been an upsurge in funeral directors recognising the need for online pricing, and we applaud the NAFD’s hard work in leading this.
“When we grieve, shopping around different funeral directors can be the last thing we want to do. But the fact is, there are big differences in what companies charge, so being able to compare prices before we commit ourselves is important. By putting prices on their websites, funeral directors really help grieving people find a funeral within their means. At a time when so many of us would struggle to afford a funeral, this change in the way funeral directors do business is brilliant news for a fairer society.”
To check for your nearest NAFD member, please visit www.nafd.org.uk. If your chosen NAFD member does not currently list prices online you can request a comprehensive price list.