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The CMA has published provisional conclusions in its investigation into the funerals market and related services. The focus of the proposals are a package of “sunlight” remedies, intended to make pricing and practices in the sector more visible to consumers. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the CMA ruling out, in the short term at least, certain remedies previously under consideration such as price controls.
The CMA acknowledges that the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on: the running of the investigation; the provisional conclusions that it has been possible to reach; and the timing of the actions proposed. The report concludes that remedies such as price controls could not safely be introduced during the coronavirus emergency. It recommends that the CMA should consider whether a supplementary market investigation is required once conditions have stabilised.
In the meantime, the main focus of the remedies proposed is a package of “sunlight” provisions intended to shine a light for consumers on the pricing and practices of the sector. Additionally, it is provisionally recommended that inspection and registration regimes are established in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to supplement the regime already in place in Scotland.
Amongst the remedies that the CMA proposes as being “feasible and effective in the short term” are:
The CMA invites comments on its provisional decisions and proposed remedies by 10 September 2020. Its final report must be published by 27 March 2021 and the CMA have indicated they would like to publish this report in December 2020.
The full Provisional decision report and the Notice of provisional decision report provide the full details of the provisional conclusions. Should you wish to discuss this with our specialists or wish us to assist in the preparation of a response to the provisional findings, please contact Miles Trower or Bill Hull.
This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at August 2020. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.
18 August 2020