From 29 July 2022 pre-paid funeral plan providers must be regulated by the FCA to sell and administer plans. Find out how the Financial Ombudsman will be able to help with complaints after this date.
What are pre-paid funeral plans?
Pre-paid funeral plans are products that allow consumers to pre-arrange and pre-pay for their funeral, generally for a fixed cost. Consumers buy a plan for themselves, or someone else, for example, a family member or partner. They are sold directly by funeral plan providers or by intermediaries (someone who sells funeral plans, for example a funeral director).
Can the Financial Ombudsman look at complaints about funeral plans?
From 29 July 2022, businesses that provide and arrange pre-paid funeral plans must be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Customers who have a complaint about a product or think they’ve been treated unfairly by a business will be able to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service about pre-paid funeral plans, in relation to events that take place after 29 July 2022. Customers will also be able to complain to us about events that took place before that date, as long as:
- The provider was a member of the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) at the time of the event they are complaining about, and
- The customer has not previously made the same complaint to the FPA.
What’s the current position with businesses who provide funeral plans?
At the moment there is no requirement for anyone who sells or provides funeral plans to be regulated. The FCA will start regulating the pre-paid funeral plans sector on 29 July 2022. The Financial Ombudsman Service cannot help with complaints about funeral plans until then.
If you undertake any of these activities, and wish to continue doing so once regulation comes into force on 29 July 2022, you will need to find out about authorisation by the FCA and submit your application as soon as possible. By 29 July 2022, all funeral plan providers and intermediaries must have appropriate authorisation to continue funeral plan activities.
There is a voluntary regulation scheme in place at the moment, the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA). Plan providers have been able to choose to become members of the FPA and if a consumer has a dispute with a FPA plan provider, they can contact the FPA who’ll try to resolve things for them. If they remain unhappy, they can escalate their complaint to an independent dispute resolution service.
Find out more about the Funeral Planning Authority.
Where can I find out more about this?
You can read more about the regulation of funeral plans, including how to apply for authorisation on the Financial Conduct Authority’s website.