Feds Say Funeral Homes Hide Their Prices

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Some funeral homes are not transparent with their pricing, the federal government says. Here is how you can save.

It can be difficult to get an accurate cost estimate for the price of a funeral these days. Why? Because some funeral homes are effectively burying their costs from consumers.

A Federal Trade Commission regulation known as the Funeral Rule is intended to protect consumers in part by requiring funeral homes to provide transparent pricing information. However, some funeral homes fail to comply with those federal disclosure requirements.

A recent undercover investigation by the FTC revealed that 31 of the 133 funeral homes it investigated were in violation of the Funeral Rule because they did not provide consumers with an itemized price list.

Joshua Slocum, executive director of the death care watchdog Funeral Consumers Alliance, explains the funeral pricing challenge to NPR:

“The consumer stands firmly in 1951, because that seems to be the technological level and the transparency level that the majority of American funeral homes are stuck at.”

How you can save

Fortunately, funerals don’t have to break the bank. Many Americans are now opting for cremation, rather than a traditional burial. Cremation offers a significant cost savings, but that’s just one of the “7 Reasons Cremation Is Becoming America’s Favorite Last Act.”

You can also opt for a “green” or “natural” burial, or perhaps even a home burial. Those are just two of the money-saving ideas included in “15 Ways to Have a Memorable Funeral on the Cheap.”

Hosting a funeral in an alternative location has benefits beyond saving money, as that story makes clear:

A simple memorial service also can be held in a park, the mountains, the beach or another lovely place that’s free of charge or perhaps was meaningful to the deceased.

If you’re planning the funeral of a loved one and you’re not sure where to start, check out “How to Manage the Costs of a Funeral.”

Have you recently planned a funeral? Share your experiences below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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