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The more I work with the families that come to me, the more aware I become of the TRUE importance of the knowing about, and the understanding of, ones lawful and inherent rights when it comes to obtaining funeral goods and services.
I have been a personal witness to numerous distressing, and downright deplorable acts of misinformation and intimidation by a select few of our local funeral homes. This kind of treatment to the people they are hired to service, and in my opinion comfort, is what I consider to be crude and extortionate. It is the last thing any family deserves in their time of need, grief, and financial stress.
Lenny Weake, owner of Affordable Caskets and Urns, Three Rivers, MA
It’s best to NOT tell the funeral director anything about wanting to buy your casket from me until you get a written, itemized price list (General Price List)
Many people believe that some funeral homes may have two different price lists. One where the prices are higher if you buy your casket or urn from the outside.
Funeral directors must give you price information on the telephone if you ask for it. You don’t have to give them your name, address, or telephone number first. Although they are not required to do so, many funeral homes mail their price lists, and some post them online.
The funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought from a local casket & urn store, or somewhere else — or charge you a fee to do it. The funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket or urn is delivered to them.
No state law requires routine embalming for every death. Some states require embalming or refrigeration if the body is not buried or cremated within a certain time; some states don’t require it at all. In most cases, refrigeration is an acceptable alternative. In addition, you may choose services like direct cremation and immediate burial, which don’t require any form of preservation. Many funeral homes have a policy requiring embalming if the body is to be publicly viewed, but this is not required by law in most states. Ask if the funeral home offers private family viewing without embalming. If some form of preservation is a practical necessity, ask the funeral home if refrigeration is available.
Outer burial containers are not required by state law anywhere in the U.S., but many cemeteries require them to prevent the grave from caving in. If the funeral home sells containers, but doesn’t list their prices on the GPL, you have the right to look at a separate container price list before you see the containers. If you don’t see the lower-priced containers listed, ask about them.
The Funeral Rule, enacted by the Federal Trade Commission on April 30, 1984 and amended it effective 1994, was designed to protect consumers by requiring that they receive adequate information concerning the goods and services they may purchase from a funeral provider. All funeral providers must comply with The Funeral Rule.
It’s best to NOT tell the funeral director anything about wanting to buy your casket from me until you get a written, itemized price list (General Price List). Many people believe that some funeral homes have two different price lists. One where the prices are higher if you buy your casket or urn from the outside.
The Funeral Rule requires every funeral home to have a General Price List. It is a written, itemized price list of all the items and services the funeral home offers. The General Price List will be your guide to comparing funeral costs in your area. Some funeral homes will publish their General Price List online. If you don’t see it on the funeral home’s website, you can call or email them to ask them to send you a copy.
Below is an example of a General Price List from Wilbraham Funeral Home in Wilbraham, MA and Toomey O' Brien Funeral Home in West Springfield, MA
Ethical dealings respect the feelings and emotions of the bereaved, provide respect to the deceased's body, and refrain from taking economic advantage of consumers making funeral or memorial purchases.
FEO's mission is to promote ethical dealings in all death-related transactions by working for better understanding of ethical issues among funeral, cemetery, memorial industry practitioners, law enforcement, organ procurement organizations, and state agencies, as well as better understanding between these and the general public.
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