At an average cost of $7,000, funerals are one the more expensive purchases made by consumers. During an emotionally-charged time it can be easy to overspend.
In the last 12 months, BBB | Greater Maryland received ten complaints, and more than 2,000 inquires involving funeral related services, many concern pricing issues.
Most funeral providers offer a variety of package plans that include products and services that are most commonly sold. However, it’s important to remember that no package is obligatory and it’s important to take the time, even though it may be constricted, to find the individual products and services that you prefer. The “Funeral Rule,” enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, requires funeral directors to give you itemized prices in person and, if asked, over the phone.
The Funeral Rule:
- You have the right to choose the funeral goods and services that you want (with some exceptions).
- The funeral provider must state this “Rule” in writing on the general price list.
- If state or local law requires you to buy any particular item, the funeral provider must disclose it on the price list, with a reference to the specific law.
- The funeral provider may not refuse, or charge a fee, to handle a casket that you bought elsewhere.
- A funeral provider who offers cremations must make alternative containers available.
“Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions and read contracts before you sign,” said Angie Barnett, president/CEO, BBB | Greater Maryland. “If you feel as if you are being pressured into buying something you do not want or need, ask to speak to a different funeral director or go to a different funeral home.”
Additionally, The Maryland Board of Morticians and Funeral Directors (BOM) has helpful information for families on their website, http://dhmh.maryland.gov/bom/sitepages/home.aspx. The BOM is responsible for inspecting and providing licenses to funeral establishments in Maryland.
BBB has Business Reviews on more than 200 funeral homes and related services in Md. available for free at bbb.org.