Life

Funeral Homes May Soon Be Required To List Prices Online

A new petition is attempting to make it easier for grieving families to compare costs of funeral services by requiring funeral homes to list their prices in a more user-friendly manner online. This is an attempt to help expedite the process of choosing funeral goods and services for loved ones.

Back in 1984, the Federal Trade Commission created the funeral rule, which requires funeral homes to provide price lists to prospective customers over the phone or in person, and also requires funeral homes to sell products and services à la carte. But today, because the rule was created in the early ’80s, many still don’t provide prices online. In fact, a recent survey found that out of 150 funeral homes, only 38 percent did so.

Funerals are a costly business (caskets alone cost, on average, $2,000), and posting prices online would help consumers manage those costs and make decisions more quickly. So last week, the Funeral Consumers Alliance and the Consumer Federation of America petitioned the FTC to require funeral homes nationwide to post the prices for their products and services on their websites.

John Carmon, president of the Connecticut-based Carmon Community Funeral Homes, says most funeral homes suggest customers select products and services based on more than just price. According to him, many business can and will adjust their prices to reflect a family’s economic situation, an option that wouldn’t be readily apparent from an online price list.

Regardless, an online price list would help keep the funeral planning process not only more efficient but also slightly more private—being able to do research from the comfort of your own home without being subjected to a sales pitch is certainly a much more pleasant idea than hearing a laundry list of services over the phone.