InvoCare Limited has been fined $102,000 for allegedly making false and misleading representations to their customers.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued the infringement notice after becoming aware of potential misconduct by the funeral company in late 2013 and early 2014.
InvoCare changed the details of their standard contract in January 2011, requiring their customers to buy memorials from the company to be used at burial sites.
Consumers took to the ACCC with complaints, alleging that InvoCare was requiring them to buy memorial plaques though they had purchased burial sites prior to January 2011.
“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” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“More generally, it is important that businesses do not represent consumers are required to make an additional purchase when this is not the case under the contractual terms which bind the consumer.”
The ACCC says InvoCare cooperated when they were contacted in late 2013 and early 2013, organising internal investigations, offering compensation to those affected, and revising procedures and compliance policies.
InvoCare has agreed to not require customers to purchase memorials for a period of three years and have committed to enhance their consumer law compliance program.
“The ACCC welcomes these revisions made by InvoCare to its consumer contracts. They introduce flexibility and lessen the obligations on customers during a stressful period in their lives,” Ms Rickard said.