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Monday 27 July 2015

15-195MR ASIC helps Indigenous consumers avoid a funeral rip-off

ASIC today joins ACCC and other consumer protection agencies across Australia to launch the Avoid a funeral rip-off campaign—a joint initiative of Australia’s Commonwealth, state and territory consumer protection agencies, through the National Indigenous Consumer Strategy (NICS) Reference Group.

ASIC Deputy Chairman, Peter Kell, today reiterated ASIC's commitment to monitoring funeral insurance providers and taking action where instances of misleading or deceptive conduct has been identified.

'We recognise that planning for a funeral can be a difficult process,' Mr Kell said.

'The main aim of this campaign is to provide Indigenous consumers with the knowledge they need to make an informed choice if they're thinking about purchasing a funeral savings or insurance plan.'

As part of this work, ASIC's MoneySmart has developed the 'Paying for Funerals' booklet for consumers which outlines the different ways to plan and pay for a funeral. It also provides a comparison between different funeral products.

'Indigenous consumer advocates and legal groups regularly tell ASIC that a lack of understanding and knowledge about the features and range of funeral products leads to consumers signing up to products that are expensive and do not suit their needs,' Mr Kell said.

'ASIC, along with other NICS agencies, hopes that this campaign will provide Indigenous consumers with the information that will enable them to choose a funeral product that is the most affordable, appropriate, and suitable to their situation.'

Compliance officers from Australia's consumer protection agencies will be reviewing contracts for various funeral products and scrutinising claims made in advertising and promotions.

'Where ASIC has identified issues with a particular firm, we will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement and regulatory action to lift standards and ensure better outcomes for all consumers,' Mr Kell said.  

Background

ASIC's MoneySmart 'Paying for Funerals' booklet can be obtained through local consumer protection agencies. An electronic version is also available through ASIC's MoneySmart website: www.moneysmart.gov.au 

ASIC is a member of the National Indigenous Consumer Strategy Reference Group and is committed to continuing to work cooperatively with other state and territory consumer protection agencies to improve Australia’s performance regarding Indigenous consumer affairs.

The Avoid a funeral rip-off campaign will run for three months until the end of October 2015. It includes both education and compliance arms.

Last updated: 23/03/2016 03:08