The law has failed in almost twenty years to bring down the price of the funeral. The economic crisis and the Internet could be more effective. For about a year, the funeral market mute. It develops all share a speech on prices, terms borrowed from the supermarket that seemed far indecent in the area. “Funeral low cost”, “discount”, “cut-price” … Appara t in this niche “first prize” a growing number of operators, storefront or online number;? For price comparison websites that facilitate competitive bidding. And families who can not, no longer want, deal with an average expenditure of 3,000 to 3,500 euros to pay their last respects to their deceased.

Ecoplus Funeral, new string of stores launched by the cooperative network’s funeral Choice, opened a new outlet in Lyon on October 17. Photo: Sebastian Erome for Le Monde

That’s almost twenty years since the communal monopoly funeral was repealed (Act Sweat January 1993), liberalizing the sector. Lower rates expected did not occur. On the contrary: most, the burial societies have increased the bill to make as much selling less. Why deny it? In this particular industry, the consumer, so far little compared.

The price of funerals has risen by a third in ten years, fell to November 2011 the consumer association UFC-Que Choisir, who tirelessly denounced the opacity of a sector whose turnover approaching 2 billion Euro ‘: “The funeral is a painful moment when we inevitably lose lucidity Some funeral operators are able to take advantage.”.

The novelty of recent months is that families do not follow. At the headquarters of the independent association of funeral information (Afif), Michel Kawnik re? Ilo more of these awarded by HP calls? Die, in RSA, whose father died penniless. “They are in anguish. If they can not pay, what happens? Mass grave?”

Funeral companies have more harder to get paid. Photo: Sebastian Erome for Le Monde

The undertakers show their heart tee increasing difficulties in getting paid. “Even we who practice fair prices, we struggle,” admits Sandrine Thiéfine, President of Roc-Eclerc, franchise network pioneer since 1985, supply cheap funeral. Customers are demanding to be paid in several checks. Outstanding litigation and rising. “We just signed an agreement with a subsidiary of Societe Generale to provide a free credit, with payments in five or ten times. And we said that if the deceased had a mutual, there may be a support at least part, we are trying to engage. ”

At Roc-Eclerc, the average bill is around 3000 euros for a burial, 2500 euros for a cremation. And entry level less than 2000 euros is put forward these days … The network of 500 franchised stores has doubled in seven years. “Our competitors glimpse oivent they charged too much. It is time! There was, abuse!” Triumph president. Roc-Eclerc but is now challenged by new signs that displayed all the funeral less than 2000 euros.

As funeral Ecoplus (“Dying should not be a luxury”), new string of stores launched by the funeral Choice, a cooperative network of 700 outlets. Philippe Martineau, its chief executive, had a revelation: “Faced with the crisis, the poverty, it was necessary to rethink the way we support.” Hence the opening in major cities in six Ecoplus funeral. Three more are expected by the end of the year, expected percent in five years. With a range of quality, we are assured, but more simple, reduced to three costed proposals: 1250, 1990 or 2490 euros. “The demand is high, it looks like the rise of private labels in the supermarket,” says Martineau.

In Ecoplus, supply is reduced to three propositions: 1250, 1990 and 2490 euros. Photo: Sebastian Erome for World

Same reasoning at the Paris Clair Funeral opened in July 2011, which charges the funeral in 1180 euros. Nicolas Ritter, founder, lost his mother in 24 years. “With my brothers 16 and 22 years, was massacred by the undertaker who charge huge margins on people in absolute disarray. I decided to launch this offer citizen because I refuse to sell 5000 euros that I can sell in 1180. ” As those Ecoplus, two Paris stores are backed by a big website.

Restrictions budget adds a change of mentality. More Frenchman tap the word “funeral” on Google. While taboos are eroding, as evidenced by the dramatic rise in pension contracts funeral – which require talking to her death banker – used to eat smart by the Web no longer spare the world the funeral. “There are those who can not and those who do not want to spend that much, says the funeral director Ecoplus. They are in the attitude? That consumer, they want simplicity.”

This is the company Rebillon population, which usually give the “traditional custom”, launched in late 2011 and its website “funeral, low price” or 1091 or 1250 euros – without passing through a place of worship, in the Paris region only. Six months later, the funeral services of the City of Paris have nested? Ty him not with the site, and offers spectacular “from 789 euros” counting only mandatory co benefits? T fixed, nearest reality of 1400 euros cremation, burial of 1800 euros.

Fran? Ois Michaud Nérard, CEO of Parisian funeral services, had the idea noting that many of the forties or fifties organized the funeral by phone, email, Chronopost “and felt a great distrust of operators funeral. They wanted to be free to choose, avoid coming face to someone who culpabiliserait not choose the most expensive coffin. ”

In these tragic circumstances, funeral advisers remain indispensable, it is there opposite. “The same kind of arguments that twenty years ago for the marriage agencies. Today, young people no longer even know what it is”, he says. With the Internet, the lines move. If only because it becomes possible to establish estimates do not get personally involved.

The price of funerals has risen by a third in 10 years, fell last year UFC-Que Choisir. Photo: Sebastian Erome for World

A few clicks and new price comparison websites (Iquiétis, Comitam …) provide four free in an hour. Precious custom quote now mandatory and strictly defined (stopped august 2010), which compare to discern the compulsory optional. Investigators UFC-Que Choisir, dispatched in June 2011 thousand funeral shops is the were denied in 20% of cases, and those obtained did not show always in compliance …

Internet is not the Eden of the consumer: the demands made on price comparison sites are resold (50 euros) for funeral companies who wish to meet and try to win a customer. But as the low cost seized system, traditional businesses may be required to provide more readily these entry-level to 1400 euros funeral ensure they have all cataloged.

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