Co-op steps up funeral price war

The Co-op has stepped up its efforts in a price war with other funeral providers with an extension on its guarantee to beat competitor quotes.

The Co-op has complained to the government because a decision on whether or not to approve their plans for a new store is still pending.

In yet another aggressive move designed to put pressure on its rivals, Co-op on Monday extended its price guarantee to all funeral plans and probate fees.

This is on top of a previous promise to beat quotes for funeral service costs on a like-for-like basis, which was announced early in September.

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The additional guarantee covers plans taken out by the living in preparation for their own funerals.

Some 70,000 people took out funeral plans with Co-op, which is the UK’s biggest funeral provider, last year.

It will also apply to the cost of administering a grant of probate, which can on average amount to £4,500.

“Every year, thousands of families are having to find significant sums to arrange the funerals of their loved ones and are seeing any inheritance left, reduced by probate fees,” said Robert Maclachlan, managing director of Co-op funerals and care and life planning.

“By introducing these new measures, we hope that more people will plan ahead with confidence and families who are left to deal with probate can trust that they’re getting the best price,” he added.

Co-op also reduced the price of its simple funeral service by £100 in September.

The move sent listed funeral company Dignity’s shares down by more than 5%, as investors anticipated a full-blown price war in the funeral market.

Dignity and Co-op are the two leading providers in the UK, with 16% and 14% slices of the market respectively.