It’s really tough to haggle when you arrange a funeral. It’s the last thing that you’re likely to want to do. Yet funerals are expensive and it’s important to find out what the funeral home charges in advance. It is a business and every service done for you, however routine or small, comes with a fee. These fees add up quickly.
Federal law requires funeral homes to disclose fees so that you can make decisions about what you want to buy at this very difficult time.
You should get an itemized general price list when you sit down with the funeral director before you look at caskets, or anything else. A funeral home is prohibited from requiring you to buy a casket, or a particular item, as a condition of getting other funeral services.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) monitors funeral homes to make sure they comply and in 2013 sent undercover investigators into funeral homes in eight states.
Investigators found 32 of the 124 funeral homes failed to disclose prices.
VIOLATORS NOT NAMED
The FTC says it’s not disclosing names of funeral homes that violated the law because it doesn’t release names of those under investigation. Most of the funeral homes agreed to take a three-year remedial training course offered by the National Funeral Directors Association instead of facing an FTC lawsuit and civil penalties.
Here’s where the FTC found funeral homes failed to provide price lists:
- 2 of 19 in southern Connecticut and northern New Jersey.
- 1 of 8 in Palm Springs, California.
- 8 of 17 in Monroe, Louisiana.
- 2 of 19 in Baltimore, Maryland.
- 5 of 15 in Dayton, Ohio.
- 2 of 14 in Portland, Oregon.
- 6 of 19 in Amarillo, Texas.
- 4 of 18 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The FTC makes regular undercover visits to funeral homes. But obviously they don’t get to all of them. So it’s in your interest to make sure that you speak up and get the information that you need from the funeral director if it’s not offered to you.