The website https://beyond[dot]life, first seen in February 2019, included a funeral director comparison tool. One search returned a list of results, including a funeral director service offered by Dignity. The price was shown as £6,070. Clicking on that listing provided more information, including a breakdown of the price, with funeral directors fees listed as £3,470 and a selection of arrangements as £1,756 as well as a fee of £844 for the crematorium.
Dignity plc challenged whether the prices displayed on the website for their branches were misleading.
Funeralbooker Ltd t/a Beyond said the pricing they showed for Dignity branches was correct as of the date they collected it, and this was noted as such on their website. They said they demonstrated exactly how they collected it, and had copies of every single price sheet, and published the methodology online. They said they met with Dignity in person, who agreed the methodology was correct. They said they had asked them to provide Beyond with any updated pricing, but they had refused. They said they had updated the pricing for the specific listing when provided with it, though they believed there were some errors within it. Beyond said they would remove all Dignity pricing from their website because they understood from the updated prices that they had changed sufficiently such that they were no longer providing a public information service by showing the previous pricing.
The ASA acknowledged Beyond’s willingness to make changes to their advertising. We noted that the prices shown were specific and that various options were available to tailor the service, such as the type of hearse used. We considered that consumers would assume that the prices displayed for individual funeral directors would be accurate and up-to-date. We understood that Beyond had carried out an exercise to gather the prices of Dignity branches, which they had then uploaded to their site. However, Dignity had subsequently amended how they calculated their prices and some of the elements that had previously been separated were now included in a bundled price. For example, the listing for the GR Moss branch which showed as £6,070 in the ad, was around £1,500 cheaper based on their updated prices. Given that Dignity had made changes across their branches, and that they had fundamentally amended how the prices were put together, the same errors in pricing were likely to have appeared across the site for all Dignity branches.
Given the above, we concluded that the prices displayed on the website for Dignity branches were likely to mislead. The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.17 (Prices)
The ad must not appear again in the same form. We told Funeralbooker Ltd to ensure that any quoted prices on their website were accurate and up-to-date.