But the FTC’s annual undercover investigations sometimes find funeral directors who aren't playing by the rules, which is why you need to review your rights before calling a funeral home. For example, in January, the Harrison Funeral Home in Harrison, N.Y., and its funeral director agreed to pay a $32,000 civil penalty to settle charges that it failed to give consumers the required price lists.
Under the 1984 funeral rule, funeral homes must give consumers itemized price lists before any in-person discussions begin about funeral arrangements, coffins and/or outer burial containers. Funeral directors must also provide prices over the phone on request. At Family-Funeral & Creation you can be assured that all federal, state and local rules and laws are followed to a "T". We not only provide you with our published prices but we also give you a comparison of other local funeral home prices in our area.
Among other requirements, funeral homes can’t require consumers to buy any unwanted products and services, such as caskets, urns, or unnecessary embalming. And they must allow consumers to bring in coffins or other items obtained elsewhere. With a cremation, for example, you can bring your own container, even if it’s not designed to be an urn. However at Family-Funeral & Cremation are prices of caskets and urns are the same or better quality of other funeral homes at a fraction of the cost of others.
Some funeral homes try to increase sales by making consumers believe they need to purchase more than they want or can afford, says Lisa Carlson, executive director of the Vermont-based Funeral Ethics Organization and co-author of "Final Rights," a consumer guide. During her undercover visit to a funeral home some years back, Carlson says, the funeral director insisted the law requires the purchase of an urn for cremated remains, which he said can kill fish if released into a waterway. Neither is true.
If a home presses you to buy more than you want or balks at your bringing in your own coffin or other items “you should get up and leave, absolutely,” Valerie Wages, president of the Georgia-based Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, said. At Family-Funeral & Cremation we always offer quality products and services at a very reasonable fee. We have a 5-star rating with our families. Value, integrity and quality is the only way here at Family-Funeral & Cremation. - 850-466-5440. www.Family-Funeral.com
What to do
- If you need to plan a funeral, don’t be rushed into making expensive decisions. You should have at least two days to make arrangements if the dead is in a hospital morgue or with a coroner.
- Start by reviewing the requirements of the funeral home.
- Examine your state’s law governing such issues as embalming, coffins and vaults, burial, and cremation. That can help you know whether a funeral home is trying to sell you unnecessary items.
- Read "How to Read a Funeral Home Price List" and other advice at the Funeral Consumers Alliance, a nonprofit consumer protection organization.
- Don’t let anyone guilt trip you into spending more than you can afford or think is wise.
- Always comparison shop among other funeral homes and online. You can find all our prices and price comparisons on our website at: www.Family-Funeral.com