Paying for death: the funeral business

It is difficult for us to talk about death, but it is even more difficult to talk about the cost of dying. We want to break the taboo and take a look at the procedure and costs of funeral services, historically criticised for their high prices and lack of transparency.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has left us with very unpleasant figures, headed by the 23,000 deaths that have been recorded in Catalonia since the beginning of the pandemic. Added to this number is the desperation of many families when it comes to paying for the funeral to have a dignified farewell for their loved ones, either due to a lack of financial resources, the high costs of the funeral home, or, in some cases, because they cannot afford or do not have burial insurance. 

 

Barcelona creates a protocol of good practice

The first obstacle encountered by many families begins at the medical centre itself: due to lack of information, in many cases, they are unaware of the procedure for contracting funeral services at the hospital for the death of a family member. In response to this need, Barcelona City Council has created a protocol of good practices on funeral services, to which ten of the city’s hospitals have already signed up.

The aim of this protocol is to provide families with information on the steps to follow and to promote freedom of choice as to which funeral company they want to use. For this reason, the medical centres, together with the cemeteries of the city of Barcelona, provide a leaflet with information on prices, rights, funeral homes operators, the procedure to follow in case of having insurance, free services, and subsidised services. The protocol also details how all this information must be provided by medical personnel in a designated area, in order to maintain privacy.

 

Price of burials limited by the coronavirus

The impact of the pandemic and the situation of helplessness in which many families have found themselves has led the Generalitat to establish that “under no circumstances, the prices of funeral services maybe be higher than those in force prior to 14 March 2020”. This malpractice had already been denounced by some funeral homes customers, who warned of prices that were too high for those who died of coronavirus.

Currently, due to the lack of transparency and information from funeral homes and the aggravation of the coronavirus, it is difficult to establish an average burial price in Catalonia. But to give us an idea, in Barcelona, the limit for funeral services during the pandemic was 1,948.10 euros.

 

The recurrent lack of transparency

In 2020, the Organització de Consumidors i Usuaris (OCU) carried out a study analysing the websites of 50 funeral homes in different cities in Spain, and concluded that the lack of transparency is constant and recurrent in this sector. Only five funeral homes out of the 50 that were analysed reported and detailed their prices; others showed the price of certain services or simply the total cost, and the remaining 37 did not report prices at all.

In addition to this lack of transparency, there is a lack of freedom to choose funeral homes, especially for people with burial insurance, who can only choose from the options indicated by the insurer. In Spain, practically half of the deceased population in 2020 had insurance (46.6%) and, therefore, their choice was limited. The association of small funeral homes Esfune alerted the National Commission for Markets and Competition this year to this lack of freedom of choice, which according to its study affects 70% of families, with or without insurance.

Nothing spares us from death. That is why it is so important that the funeral sector offers facilities and guarantees to families and is committed to transparency. Because the duty of funeral homes is to provide a good death.

 

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  1. Mercè ComasMercè Comas says:
    Mercè

    S’ha d’ anar amb uns ulls com unes taronges perquè no t’encolomin serveis que no vols. No són moments emocionalment adequats per estar al cas i se n’aprofiten. Si veus a venir una mort et pots assessorar, quan és imprevista les regulacions legals passen a un segon terme

    • Elisabet Porqueras GarciaElisabet Porqueras Garcia says:
      Elisabet

      Tens tota la raó Mercè, per això aquest article és tan interessant. Gràcies pel teu comentari, ens veiem per La Plaça

      2 weeks ago
  2. Rosa Pinadella DinaretRosa Pinadella Dinaret says:
    Rosa

    L’OCU podria haver fet l’estudi demanant les factures als que, per desgràcia, hem perdut a persones estimades. Tindrien dades reals i transparència 100%. La mitja d’un enterrament 5.500€, una indecència més d’aquesta societat.

  3. Joan Santacruz CarlúsJoan Santacruz Carlús says:
  4. Ricard Calvo VilanovaRicard Calvo Vilanova says:
    Ricard

    Ben explicat

    • Elisabet Porqueras GarciaElisabet Porqueras Garcia says:
      Elisabet

      Gràcies pel teu comentari Ricard, ens veiem per La Plaça

      2 weeks ago
  5. Manel Miquel MartinezManel Miquel Martinez says:
    Manel Miquel

    Crec que tot plegat es un negoci i que les bones practicas son sempre difícils de engegar.

    • Elisabet Porqueras GarciaElisabet Porqueras Garcia says:
      Elisabet

      Gràcies pel teu comentari Manel, ens veiem per La Plaça

      2 weeks ago
  6. Laura CarlúsLaura Carlús says:
    Laura

    Hi ha un tipus d’ataud de cartró del tot sostenible i d’un cost màxim de 300 eur que ni tant sols ofereixen les funeràries. L’oposició per part d’aquest mercat és tant gran, que mai incorporaran altres models perquè no els permet l’especulació. És indignant!

    • Mercè ComasMercè Comas says:
      Mercè

      Em sembla que aquest tipus de bagul no està homologat a Espanya. Les funeràries actuen com un lobby

      2 weeks ago
    • Elisabet Porqueras GarciaElisabet Porqueras Garcia says:
      Elisabet

      A la llarga les coses hauran de canviar Laura. Gràcies pel teu comentari, ens veiem per La Plaça

      2 weeks ago
  7. alicia Coiduras Charlesalicia Coiduras Charles says:
    alicia

    El deure de les funeraries es poder donar un bon enterrament però el principal deure passa pel país i govern que estabkeix aquest deure
    Gracies per l’informacio

    • Elisabet Porqueras GarciaElisabet Porqueras Garcia says:
      Elisabet

      Gràcies pel teu comentari Alícia, ens veiem per La Plaça

      2 weeks ago
  8. Gabriel JosidGabriel Josid says:
    Gabriel

    Felicitats per tocat aquest tema i intentar contribuir a que morir en el nostre país sigui més digne i menys mercantilista.

    • Pilar Oltra ViguerasPilar Oltra Vigueras says:
      Pilar

      Gràcies, Gabriel, celebro que l’hagis trobat constructiu.

      2 weeks ago

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