Funeral services provider Bare Funeral Group Pty Ltd, trading as Bare Cremation, has paid a penalty of $13,320 after the ACCC issued it with an infringement notice for allegedly making a false and misleading representation about the price of its cremation services, according to this Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) media release.
In April 2021, Bare Cremation represented on its website that the price for a ‘Cremation Only Service’ was ‘from $1,299’ and the price for a ‘Bare Memorial Service’ was ‘from $2,199’.
The ACCC alleges that these prices were only available in one of the seventeen regions the company operates in, and that prices for other regions were as high as $2,699 for a ‘Cremation Only Service’ and $3,599 for a ‘Bare Memorial Service’.
“Bare Cremation represented that price as the minimum price, even though the ACCC obtained evidence that it was not available to the vast majority of consumers,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“The use of ‘from pricing’ appears to be common in the funeral services industry, and we are concerned such pricing may not be an accurate indication of the final price a consumer will pay.”
As a result of the ACCC’s action, Bare Cremation has now amended the descriptions on its website to accurately reflect the pricing available in different regions.
Bare Cremation is also reviewing the customer experience on its website and its processes, to ensure pricing information and other representations are accurate.
“The ACCC welcomes the steps which Bare Cremation has taken to ensure compliance with the Australian Consumer Law,” Ms Rickard said.
“People using funeral services are in a state of grief and have to make high-cost decisions under time pressure, and it is important, and required by law, that they are provided with accurate pricing information.”
Bare Cremation commenced operations in November 2019 and promotes its cremation-only services as cheaper than full service cremations or funerals. Bare Cremation operates in all States and Territories, except in the Northern Territory.
Competition and consumer issues in the funeral services sector is a current enforcement and compliance priority for the ACCC.
The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law, which also sets the penalty amount.
The ACCC can issue an infringement notice when it has reasonable grounds to believe a person or business has contravened certain consumer protection provisions in the Australian Consumer Law.
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