Undertaking end date
Company or individual details
NameGerren Pty Ltd trading as Parkside Funerals
ACN140 929 246
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Gerren Pty Ltd trading as ‘Parkside Funerals’ (Parkside Funerals) in relation to:
- representations made about the price of its funeral and/or cremation services that it admits contravened sections 18 and 29(1)(i) of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL); and
- its use of unfair contract terms within the meaning of section 23 and 24 of the ACL.
Parkside Funerals operates two funeral homes across North West Tasmania, with locations in Burnie and Ulverstone. It provides burial and cremation funeral services and also supplies coffins, plaques and urns.
From at least 3 February 2020 to 12 April 2021, Parkside Funerals represented to consumers in its invoices that a $500 ‘Estate Fee’ was a cost associated with the provision of its funeral and/or cremation services, when in fact, the ‘Estate Fee’ was a penalty applied if the consumer did not pay the invoice by the due date (the Estate Fee Representation).
From at least 1 January 2020 to 22 July 2021, Parkside Funerals entered into contracts with consumers containing terms that permitted Parkside Funerals to increase the upfront price payable for services without consultation with the consumer, charge interest on unpaid invoice amounts without specifying the exact terms for doing so and, in the case of pre-paid funerals, charge a consumer for additional services requested by others who were not party to the contract, such as family members of the deceased, without a requirement to provide the consumer who had entered into the contract the opportunity to refuse these additional services and their costs (the Terms of Concern).
Parkside Funerals has admitted by making the Estate Fee Representation it engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations in contraventions of section 18 and 29(1)(i) of the ACL. Parkside also acknowledges the Terms of Concern are unfair within the meaning of sections 23 and 24 of the ACL.
To address the ACCC’s concerns, Parkside Funerals has paid one infringement notice and provided the ACCC with a section 87B undertaking that for a period of 3 years it will:
- ensure any fee for late payment of an invoice is described as such and not as a discount for paying on time or an ‘estate fee’ or similar term;
- provide refunds to all consumers who have paid an estate fee from 3 February 2020;
- not rely on any of the Terms for any current contracts and not include the Terms, or any term that has the same effect as the Terms, in future contracts with consumers;
- implement an ongoing practice of providing all consumers with an itemised list of all potential costs associated with a cremation or funeral service prior to the consumer entering into a contract; and
- maintain a compliance program.