Funeral giant InvoCare has been accused of charging fees for no service and gouging hundreds of dollars from bereaved Australian families.
The listed company, which operates the high profile brands White Lady Funerals and Simplicity Funerals, has been challenged over its practice of adding an "unnecessary" late fee of $352 by default to its bills.
"The invoices clearly show InvoCare funeral homes incorporating the late fee into the total figure of all invoices," consumer advocate CHOICE said.
"If families pay before or on the due date, the fee is supposed to be deducted."
CHOICE said its investigators also found the charge appeared on bills as an "administration fee" when it's clearly not.
"This practice is absolutely disgraceful," CHOICE Director of Campaigns Erin Turner said in a statement on Friday.
"These fees are incredibly misleading and are akin to fees for no service and pay-on-time discounts."
Ms Turner accused InvoCare of "profiteering from grieving families" and called on the company to scrap the practice.
CHOICE has now lodged a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The company on Friday said it "strongly rejects any suggestion it seeks to take advantage of grieving families" through its payment terms.
"InvoCare takes all matters regarding pricing transparency and fairness seriously and ... aims to uphold the highest standards at all times," InvoCare said in a statement.
"We are fully aware of the vulnerability of the families who come into our care."
The company said it had worked closely with CHOICE about its administration fee and had been transparent.
It was made clear the fee is waived if an account is paid within 21 days, InvoCare said.
The fee is discussed with families at the time the funeral is arranged and is identified and clearly explained in the Funeral Services Agreement provided to families.
The final invoice shows two costings: one if the amount is paid within 21 days and another - which includes the administration fee - if it's paid later.
InvoCare, which also operates a pet cremation business, posted a net profit of more than $40 million for the half-year ended June 30.
Invocare's stock was up 0.38 per cent at $13.80 in the final hour of trade on the ASX on Friday.
Shares in the company had earlier slipped to $12.99, just above Thursday's 10-month low of $12.98.