Funeral costs have Macro significance because everyone will die someday and the families are often burdened with high costs. The funeral industry (it is a service industry where corpses are the raw material) was documented in “The American Way of Death,” by Jessica Mitford.
With the advent of technology and people choosing cremation more than burial, providers have figured out new ways to rip off the bereaved. People who are grieving are often easier to pressure.
**When Shopping for Funeral Services, Be Wary**
**Experts say that when people are making decisions at such a stressful time, they are vulnerable to overpaying. “It’s a good day for the criminal or the dishonest salesperson.”**
**By Ann Carrns, The New York Times, May 6, 2022**
**The digital age has also made it easier to reach grieving customers. Just last month, the federal authorities charged that the operator of two online cremation brokerages had misled clients and even withheld remains to force bereaved families to pay inflated prices....**
**<snip how the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing a scummy operator of several companies>**
**The companies purport to be local funeral homes offering low-cost cremation services, and the websites use search engines that make it appear as though consumers are dealing with a nearby business, the complaint says. In reality, they act as middlemen, offering services and setting prices with customers, then arranging with unaffiliated funeral homes to perform cremations....“In some instances when consumers contest defendants’ charges,” the complaint said, the companies “threaten not to return or actually refuse to return” remains until customers pay up....**
**The typical cost of a traditional funeral with burial was $9,420 in 2021, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. The typical cost of a funeral with cremation was $6,970. (So-called direct cremation, with minimal ceremony, can be much less expensive.)...** [end quote]
The FTC has a Funeral Rule, which requires funeral homes to provide accurate pricing information when it is requested over the phone and an itemized list of charges after discussions about arrangements.
Most people hate thinking about death. That’s why so may people die intestate (without a will), leaving a mess for their relatives to sort out.
To avoid getting ripped off when in a state of grief, it’s best to investigate the funeral homes and cremation services ahead of time. Usually, the funeral home, the cremation site and the cemetery are not located together. If possible, visit the cremation site to make sure it actually exists and works.
In our family, Jeff (OrmontUS) handles the funerals and our family owns burial plots that were bought in the 1930s. But the average family has to figure out what to do from scratch. My husband prefers cremation and I would go directly to a local business for this service.
It’s outrageous to rip off the bereaved. But the funeral industry exists to do just that, not to mention the scummy middlement. It’s better to decide on your preferences while you are still alive and clear-headed instead of dumping this onto grieving relatives.