The study highlights three key findings:
- Funeral parlours and burial societies deliver value to consumers by meeting essential functional needs, but also by meeting social and cultural needs.
- Funeral parlours have a powerful position in the funeral value chain. This exposes consumers to abuse. Such abuses are common and cut across different spheres, such as health services, labour practices and the financial service rendered. As soon as a person purchases a funeral policy from a parlour, it creates the expectation of a certain level of service. This means that service abuses on the health or labour side become relevant from a financial services point of view.
- Consumers are largely unaware of their rights and have limited effective recourse options. This is especially so in a time of mourning, when they do not have the emotional capacity for complaints against poor or sub-standard service.
The research confirms that there is a strong imperative for regulatory and supervisory action, but it is clear that there is no easy solution.