InvoCare, a giant in the funeral homes, cemeteries and crematorium business, has been fined $102,000 for making statements deemed to be false and misleading to their prepaid customers and their next of kin.

The practice stems from InvoCare’s demanding from prepaid customers’ relatives that memorials be bought to have the deceased buried at their pre-arranged site.

InvoCare implemented the new rule in 2011. But they appear to have attempted to enforce it on prepaid customers holding policies prior to this date. Customers had been told they were contractually obliged to buy the memorial plaques, in addition to the existing prepaid policy, to have their departed buried in accordance with the policy.

ACCC deputy Chair Delia Rickard said, “The ACCC was particularly concerned about these alleged misrepresentations about the obligation to purchase memorial plaques, as Invocare was dealing with consumers in circumstances where they were particularly vulnerable.

“More generally, it is important that businesses do not represent that consumers are required to make an additional purchase when this is not the case under the contractual terms which bind the consumer.”

InvoCare, which owns the brands White Lady Funerals and Guardian, agreed to refrain from compelling customers to purchase memorials for three years. They extended this promise to current contracts containing the requirement.

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