The funeral industry operates like no other industry I know. In today’s consumer marketplace cost is a principle. Maybe not cost alone but certainly a combination of cost and value. It is highly unlikely that you would make a consumer purchase without asking the question “how much”?
Yet the funeral industry expects us to make funeral arrangements (once the fourth biggest expenditure you will make in a lifetime) without being concerned about what our bottom line is going to be. Not only can many funeral locations be evasive about disclosing prices to us if we inquire (although legally they are bound to do so), they can bombard us with so many irrelevant questions about our requirements that it can be overwhelming at a distressing time!
The latest Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) survey in conjunction with the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) has highlighted yet again just how non-compliant the industry is with the Federal Trade Commission’s ‘funeral rule’ which requires them to disclose prices.
2015 Funeral Costs Survey
The FCA and CFA recently surveyed 150 funeral homes in 10 metro areas to discover that despite legislation put in place to protect consumers, only 1 in 4 funeral homes are readily disclosing funeral costs on their websites. According to the FCA and CFA survey another 29% provided prices upon an email request and a further 29% divulged their prices after receiving an email and then a phone call. 16% of funeral homes surveyed did not provide any pricing information, or provided it only if a customer visited the funeral home.
The survey also highlighted the variation between itemized prices for funeral services and how dramatically these can vary, sometimes by as much as 3 times as much for the exact same service.
At DFS Memorials we have undertaken numerous funeral price comparison surveys to enable us to locate the best value direct cremation or direct burial. We have encountered the same resistance by many funeral locations to disclose cremation prices.
An industry resisting change….and consumer demand!
The funeral industry has been criticized for its slowness and unwillingness to embrace change. The ‘dinosaur’ that could be prone to extinction as it continues to ignore consumer demand. This survey exemplifies how despite the more progressive funeral companies who have adapted to the changes affecting the industry, there are still funeral businesses locked in a times-past.
Cremation is probably the biggest change to face this industry in the last century, and could be likened to a snowball in its growth since 2008. Families are voting with their feet that they simply cannot or will not pay thousands of dollars to lay a loved one to rest anymore.
Direct cremation is revolutionizing a once very stoic industry, and direct cremation scares many funeral business to death!! A direct cremation requires the most minimal of services from a funeral director and is his least expensive service option. Understandably many long-standing funeral homes with large overheads and fleets of vehicles are facing very troubling times.
To the funeral consumer a direct cremation means a funeral bill of typically less than $1,000 (in most metro areas). To the funeral home owner this means a steep drop in profit-margin.
So….do your homework and compare prices. As this recent survey uncovered, this is a mine-field to tread through. If you are researching ahead of time this gives you an advantage, but coming new to making arrangements at a time of need can be very distressing and completely overwhelming. As a guide DFS Memorials is here to help you. We have an extensive network of low cost cremation providers across the United States and guarantee to offer you disclosure of direct cremation costs. We hope to provide some light and guidance through your dark path, and make laying a loved one to rest a task that may be painful, but not end up costing you more than you can afford.